Healthcare and the Workaround Problem

No one wants to hear that they have to formulate a “workaround” for the new software solution they are implementing… wasn’t the new technology supposed to create efficiencies, not workarounds…?

As a sales person, I have seen the look on healthcare staff’s faces squish in disgust when they hear the term and admittedly, I try not to use that word.

Healthcare software companies are in the business of providing efficient workflows that resonate with clinicians and staff to offer the best patient experience and deliver effective solutions for clinicians to help with their diagnosis when treating patients. With pay for performance and the regulatory demands to improve safety, quality, and patient satisfaction, many typical workflows are left with workarounds based on systems that don’t have the ability to “talk” to one another. Even within the same healthcare organizations intra-care teams may use different applications or workflows, which impede standardizing patient care.

I most recently had the conversation with my fiancé, who is an RN, regarding the frustration of taking triage calls from patients wanting to receive a loved one’s clinical information, requiring her to quickly find which family members/person(s) have the permissions. Without seeing the “release of information (ROI)” document image, it is unknown who that information can be disseminated to. If the data is not entered in the EMR, she often has to search through over 50 documents attached to the patient record in the media tab looking for the data, as she has the loved one on hold, trying to determine if that particular person has the release to receive the information. Obviously, this presents an uncomfortable situation for both the staff member as well as the person on hold on the telephone. The staff member knows the data is in the EMR, but where…?

If the healthcare institution’s workflows have not been standardized to enter the ROI or it still resides in an image file that are not indexed using any protocol, which is where frustration, data overload, and staff burnout begins for these clinicians.

Interoperability is a common buzzword used in the healthcare world when it comes to having all of this data at clinicians’ finger tips. Without standardization even data within the same institutions can become lost in the ‘black holes’ of the EMR.

Extract wants to help minimize clinician burnout and the hindrances associated with finding data in the EMR. Extract’s HealthyData Platform is utilized for incoming documents (faxes, scans) from outside sources that are presented as image files with numerous patient data points to be sent into the EMR where the clinicians want the data. Those data points are necessary for patient diagnosis, tracking, and trending purposes. The HealthyData Platform can read a document as a human would, using optical character recognition (OCR) on the unstructured documents. Proprietary rule sets abstract the discrete data fields and send data and image files to be matched with the patient record.

To learn more, please reach out to one of Extract’s sales associates or contact us here to ask how we can help your institution accomplish your goals.


About the Author: Shane Dickson

Shane is the Regional Business Development Manager at Extract with more than 13 years of experience in the healthcare marketplace. His healthcare background includes managed care, regulatory guidelines, quality analytics, and EMR software solutions in a number of modalities. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from St. Norbert College while playing DIII collegiate hockey. Shane takes pride in listening to customers workflow issues to provide sound software solutions long-term.