Historically, physician and nursing systems and workflow have been parallel, but independent, of each other. In looking at what is currently available, it is obvious that very few, if any, intersect where they should: at the patient.
To accommodate all users, and even settings, large enterprises often run a number of EHRs and/or documentation tools to capture all data and documentation. The result might be that information is captured; however it is certainly not being shared efficiently, if at all, across the enterprise.
Fortunately, over the last year, nursing documentation tools have been developed that are interoperable with clinical documentation making it feasible to run one documentation tool across the enterprise. It is also possible to incorporate patient engagement and other allied health professionals into that one system and to even connect the enterprise and ambulatory settings under one documentation tool. The efficiencies that stand to be gained from unifying ambulatory and enterprise setting are significant and the benefits of providing clinicians with a clear picture of the patient are immeasurable.
Five key benefits to using one documentation tool across the enterprise:
1. Improved communications and workflow. With one integrated clinical system for all members of the care team, coordinated care becomes reality. Working off of one documentation system at the point of care will make it easier for doctors, nurses and therapists to share information and ensure that the appropriate care is being provided to the patient.
2. Real-time view. Clinicians need comprehensive, up-to-date patient information at the point of care. Period. Anything less should be unacceptable. With all users integrated into one system, the clinicians in different roles and departments can see complete patient information in real time. This alone is a huge plus for the patient and stands to dramatically improve delivery of care.
3. Accuracy and Efficiency. Today, the technology exists to have documentation and coding requirements satisfied at the point of care. Having all users on the same documentation system reduces errors and misunderstandings. Also, with all users on one documentation system, support is simplified.
4. Meaningful Use. As meaningful use requirements expand into the area of coordination of care, and the number of required quality measures grows over time, having an integrated clinical documentation system which includes capabilities for assuring compliance, will be a critical requirement of all systems.
5. Time and Money Saved. Take a moment to think of the true cost of all the “workarounds” in current systems that result in lost time for clinicians. How about the dollars lost from having to run disparate systems with limited connectivity, particularly of clinical data? One documentation system across the enterprise that unifies all users and settings will cut down on all workarounds, both technologically and physically. And, perhaps most significant of all, what about the increased mental workload for clinicians working with a disconnected system? What is the true cost of that?