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HIT Innovations Spring from Strategy, Design, and Need

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, February 5, 2013

Pathways to process efficiencies
Sometimes innovation simply involves applying a good idea from one part of healthcare to another part of healthcare. By now everyone has heard of Atul Gawande's use of checklists in the operating room. In Chapter 3 of this book, Berkowitz describes application of checklists to primary care and care coordination.

This thinking was rolled into the Inflection Navigator, an EHR enhancement that allows physicians to choose "pathways" to activate care coordinators when significant new diagnoses are made. The first three pathways chosen for Inflection Navigator were hematuria, atrial fibrillation, and cancer. Other pathways will follow.

According to Berkowitz, the system has increased process efficiencies, ensured consistent use of care standards, and provided financial benefits for patients, providers, and payers, and the book goes on in some depth to describe these benefits.

A more-focused workflow
Also featured in the book is an EHR overlay system for coordinating care in use at MedStar Health, the largest not-for-profit health system in the mid-Atlantic region. I learned that MedStar was the birthplace of what eventually became Amalga, a health information system now offered by Microsoft.

At the heart of MedStar's innovation-fueled transformation was a realization that clinicians cannot be counted upon to remember which forms to open and complete in order to perform EHR tasks. I liken this to expecting taxpayers to remember which tax forms they'll need to download and fill out in order to file their annual income taxes.

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