LEAN Healthcare: Clinicians Agree, EHR’s Should Incorporate Workflow Checklists

Boston Physician Atul Gawande wrote The Checklist Manifesto in 2009 stressing that medicine should adopt “pilot’s checklists” to ensure that operating room teams are “ready for takeoff” before a scalpel is ever opened. in other words, incorporate workflow into IT software. The manifesto was written just before the electronic health record (EHR) mandate came into being as a result of the Accountable Care Act passage in 2010. If Dr. Gawande had known about the EHR mandate, he might have suggested that EHR’s include checklists for key clinical areas to improve communication and reduce oversight and error.

In his blog, Life as a CIO, John D. Halamka MD and Chief Information Officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), recently demonstrated how BIDMC implemented The Checklist Manifesto ideas in software to complement its EHR. Dr. Halamka is also Chairman of the New England Healthcare Exchange Network (NEHEN), Co-Chair of the Health Information Technology (HIT) Standards Committee, a full Professor at Harvard Medical School, and a practicing Emergency Physician.

Dr. Halamka observes that to this day many clinicians complain that EHR’s create burden without significant benefit. He goes on to state that incorporating workflow and checklist tools into EHRs, especially in the operating room, offers high value. It ensures good team communication, while also reducing errors. According to Halamka, it’s “a win/win for everyone!” For entire blog on this subject as well as others, please click the link:

Optimium Health has long been a supporter of Dr. Gawande’s ideas and more recently, those of Dr. Halamka. The EHR is a powerful system, but without electronic workflow assistance and key process checklist features, the EHR’s potential is not fully realized as a way to improve productivity and deliver better patient care.

If you would like more information on how Optimium Health can help your organization improve IT integrated views for better communication across care teams, lower operational costs, and enhancing care delivery, please contact: heather@optimiumhealth.com

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