Improving Patient Service by Leveraging Technology

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Session
Patient Safety and Quality

Authors
James Allen
VP Operations Support, Healthsouth

Greg Blanks
Director Managemnt Engineering, HCA

Description
To improve an organization's performance, executives, department directors, etc. need information to be timely, easily accessible, understandable, and relevant to their area. In many organizations the information systems are rarely optimized and most individuals state that the problem with obtaining the information is due to insufficient "software" issues or un-captured elements.

HCA created and enhanced the available technology to information to the decision makers in a timely manner.

Abstract
To improve an organization's performance, executives, department directors, etc. need information to be timely, easily accessible, understandable, and relevant to their area. In many organizations the information systems are rarely optimized and most individuals state that the problem with obtaining the information is due to insufficient "software" issues or un-captured elements. As we began the Apollo Project, we determined the software had its limitations but were not insurmountable. The main issues we identified were in leveraging the software capabilities and providing education and training to the users and integrating the daily activities into the systems. With a little creativity, we were able to begin to optimize the information systems at HCA by:

- enhancing the Meditech Trackers,
- modifying existing NPR reports (Meditech report writer), and
- creating a web base program, Apollo.

The overarching goal of the Apollo project was to increase thru-put and organizational performance as illustrated by the diagram below. After we understood that any redesign initiative created for one patient type could have negative effects on the other patient categories, we took a macro stance on solving the issue.

To solve the issue we had to balance the three items below:
1. educating staff,
2. increasing Meditech functionality, and
3. creating a performance measurement and reporting system.

This paper focuses on two of those items: Meditech functionality and performance measurement and reporting. Since education is an important component, several key items are highlighted below:
1. create a mindset of education as a continual process not a one time occurrence
2. create a detailed educational manual with screen shots and a glossary
3. produce many different types of quick reference sheets, we have about three versions
- detailed version was on letter size paper,
- medium size was about half sheet of letter paper so it could be easily placed on the computer monitor or by the keyboard, and
- wallet size illustrated the essential items and fits behind an ID badge or in a wallet.




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