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The Power of Plugged-In Physicians

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, May 25, 2012

"We were finding each person knew what they were waiting for [to move a patient to the next step in treatment], but nobody else did," says Smith. "We would come back around and find the patient still there and find that some step got missed. Now we make that very obvious to everyone."

The YES Board, with all its icons reminiscent of cave drawings, makes patient information transparent, and effectively allows team members in the ER, and now elsewhere in the hospital, to back-check each other.

"These [care] processes are becoming so complex, with so many people involved, it's really important that you make sure all the players are aware of what's going on as quick as you can," says Boggust. "If someone's waiting for someone else to complete a step and we make the patient spend an extra hour in the department, it doesn't affect the care, but it does affect the bottom line because that's an hour of bed time."

That's the out-of-the-silo thinking that most executives are trying to encourage among their clinical staff.

Ok, so the YES Board is beautiful in its simplicity, allows multiple caregivers to access data that was once trapped in silos, and makes for more efficient patient care—but many systems can do that in theory. What works in practice is that suggestions for addition of data are acted upon by Smith, and they're acted upon quickly. Physicians, nurses, and other care team members tread a path to his office when they discover another piece of data that might be helpful to see on the monitors.

 

"Far be it from me to tell them they don't need it or ask why they want it. My job is to figure out how to get it on there," says Smith. "They actually see the product of what they asked for. What so often happens with many of these systems is that whatever change you want to make was unlikely to be done, but even if it was, it would be on a glacially paced timeframe."

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