How to protect patient safety while maintaining provider productivity
By Rodney Haynes, Executive VP and COO, OnPoint Healthcare Partners
The switch from one electronic health record (EHR) system to another is a massive undertaking for any healthcare organization. Converting a patient’s health information, even with the best technology in the industry, is not an easy task when it comes to ensuring the accuracy of clinical data.
Any time information is transferred from one software program to another, the data must be checked thoroughly to eliminate clinically inaccurate information. When patient safety is involved, clinician verification is critically important.
Unfortunately, the work of validating data when changing EHR systems often falls to the clinical care team. That can have a huge impact on provider productivity, provider engagement, patient safety and patient access to care.
The Productivity Hit
Doctors and other providers already have more work than they can handle – especially when it comes to entering clinical data into the medical record system. Putting the added, herculean task of clinical data validation on providers’ shoulders can significantly increase their workload at a time when they’re also trying to learn the new EHR.
Why? Even the smallest of errors in any conversion essentially mandates that a human dedicate time to reviewing all of the clinical data for accuracy (medications, allergies, immunizations, histories, problem list, etc.) before each patient’s first encounter on the new EHR.
National conversion trends indicate that roughly 50-60% of data converted via consolidated clinical document architecture (CCDA) alone is done accurately—regardless of which EHR system is used. Roughly 35% of that data conversion is completed with minor errors. Anywhere from 5-15% of the data typically has significant errors that must be caught before those patients are treated in their next encounter.
From a physician’s standpoint, ANY error is unacceptable in patient care. It’s no surprise, then, that at the first sign of an error occurring in the new EHR, the physician, and their staff will begin scouring charts to take corrective action. This response to the presence of clinical errors is what drives production decline in the early phase of using a new EHR.
That’s why validating data against the legacy EHR can greatly impact physician productivity and engagement. In fact, on average, data validation can negatively impact provider productivity by up to 30% in the first 90-180 days post-conversion.
Risks To Patient Safety And Confidence
The purely electronic data conversion process also leads to potential risks to patient safety. If patient data isn’t fully validated, health systems run the risk of patient encounters taking place without accurate historical information, even though the correct information existed within the legacy (original) EHR.
There are also risks to patients’ confidence in the health system. If patient data is verified with the patient during the visit and inaccurate chart information is addressed verbally, it could undermine their confidence in the clinical encounter and the provider working from that data.
How To Relieve Providers Of The Burden - And The Risk
OnPoint’s clinical data validation solution relieves providers of this burden and adds value to the conversion process. Following the CCDA process, our clinical validation team will manually validate (and correct, as needed) all medications, allergies, immunization, patient history, and problem list data. This allows providers to maintain a full volume of patient encounters with no production slow-down during the first six months of operations.
Our process uses substantial, client-approved validation protocols. Following these protocols, our experienced clinicians and providers will log into the EMR to identify and correct errors—before a patient visit.
This helps to:
- Avoid potentially serious threats to patient safety due to inaccurate data
- Prevent providers from being overloaded with additional data entry/maintenance tasks
- Maintain provider productivity and focus
- Uphold patient confidence in the care provided