Why does it appear that we're entering more data when new information systems come along?

Enterprise applications are driving change in most every hospital, and transplant programs are no exception. I’ve spoken to many nurse coordinators, and I often hear they are coping with change; many are adopting new systems in progress, or will be soon.  I get to speak to a variety of healthcare personnel as part of my job and it seems that the only constant these days, is change.  Changes in software, changes in workflow, changes in management, and merging of institutions are common.  Sometimes change is for the better of the organization but is it always welcome for the service line or more importantly, the transplant team working with patients.

Are you someone who likes change? 

I often wonder if end-users of the information systems are included in decision making. I’m sure they are, but it often seems to me that their workflow challenges are overlooked.  My view is that transplant programs receive a huge amount of data, and are required to enter data into one or more systems.  It doesn’t matter if you are solid organ, bone marrow, pre-or-post transplant.  A huge amount of paper arrives daily and varies in volume adding to the challenge.  Making sense of duplication is only a portion of the workload. The workflow of a transplant team is tremendous. The documentation demands time to sift through relevant content needed for the right person, sorting through data that requires data entry and prioritizing content for data entry. This information is critical for the transplant team, for flow-sheets, or for monitoring test results. In many cases, quality systems are in place to ensure patient safety, but are primarily manual workflows which often require more human resource than desired or readily

How can we solve data entry challenges when change is a constant? 

Incorporating electronic tools to mine your inbound and electronic documentation extracting relevant clinical data is the most efficient and cost effective way to eliminate data entry. The great thing is, you already have the necessary resources in place, but are only missing advanced data capture to fill in the missing gaps in your workflow.  

Adding advanced data capture to your existing electronic and human resources is a small change that offers huge dividends; to minimize data entry, provide a safety net for changes to staff, information systems and the many fluctuations in paper volume that your transplant program encounters every day. By essentially “converting” all document/paper-based information into discrete clinical data, you are on your way to better patient prioritization and a better way to adapt to change.

About the Author: Greg Gies

For 20 years in the software industry, Greg Gies has been helping businesses, government agencies and healthcare organizations achieve their goals and carry out their missions by making better use of information and automating business processes. Greg has held positions in sales, product management and marketing and holds an MBA from Babson College. He works and lives with his wife and three boys in the Boston area.