Blog Post

The future of health care is here. But the 'clinician of the future' needs your help.

April 21, 2017

    Over just the past four years, hospitals and health systems have started to take on challenges that they could have only dreamed of addressing a decade before.

    Consider that at the start of 2013, only 9% of hospitals had implemented full clinical decision support via variance and compliance alerts, according to HIMSS Analytics. By the end of 2016, more than 35% had reached this significant milestone.

    Four years ago, just over a third of hospitals had implemented computerized physician order entry. Today, more than 80% have.

    Hospitals and health systems have become wired and, after decades of limited clinical benefits from EHRs, have the foundation for data-driven strategies to better serve their missions. They're achieving efficiencies in clinical quality, patient experience, and the revenue cycle that previously seemed out of reach.

    We've helped lead that transformation alongside our members, and we're honored that others have taken note—Washingtonian magazine recently named The Advisory Board Company and our Chairman and CEO Robert Musslewhite as Tech Titans for the third biennial cycle in a row.

    But while technology has helped transform our industry, there are still so many cases in which it can be used more effectively and efficiently. Here are two best practices we've learned from working with our members:

    1. When introducing new technology, don't forget the status quo

    Too often, organizations introduce a technology solution to shake things up—but they make the mistake of not sufficiently planning out how to incorporate tools into everyday clinical practices and processes so that they influence providers' decisions at the point of care.

    Preparing clinicians to serve as one-on-one training leaders is one of several implementation best practices that can make sure your new technology actually drives change. Those steps are now more important than ever, particularly when analytic tools are layered on top of EHRs—such as those that help to accurately capture patient complexity—are so critical to success under Medicare Advantage and other risk-based payment models.

    How technology supports accurate risk adjusting for Medicare ACO

    2. Balance and buy-in are key

    Our experience is that easier documentation of care complexity provides the most value when providers strike the right balance, redesigning their clinical workflows to make the most use of technology, yet doing so with consideration of the clinical staff's processes.

    Most importantly, real improvement takes true partnership between hospitals and physicians. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when we act in the spirit of making it as easy as possible for providers to do what is right on behalf of their patients.

    The same principles apply to other hospital care transformation initiatives. Technology may play a titanic role, but combining it with implementation and workflow best practices will bring the biggest and most sustainable benefits from all the work that has gone into EHR implementation and optimization in recent years.

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