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Tailored Community Hospital Solutions Drive Clinical Excellence

If management is really committed to clinical excellence, tool choices should reflect that commitment.   It shouldn’t be acceptable for any community or critical access hospital to settle for a less than adequate EHR solution because they are not a major urban medical center, big name academic or research center.

So, how do we recognize “best” when it comes to clinical tools?  When I shop for a television, car, personal computer or some other unfamiliar item, I generally assume that the quality choice is probably the most complex offering.  Sophisticated is better than simple, even if I am likely to be a simple user.  Clinical tool shopping is different, right?   How hard is a complex tool to configure?  Maintain? Learn? Use effectively?  If an EHR offers extra features or capabilities that your facility will never utilize, is it worth the effort, risk and cost to acquire large facility features? Of course, we should ensure that chosen solutions are always a sound, effective and safe fit for the clinical services offered.

Let me explain this further from a very personal experience.  When I was a private pilot, I mastered flying a simple, light aircraft.  I understood its’ capabilities, could use the radios, navigation tools, engine instrumentation and other features.  It was single engine and had mechanical flight controls offering a very simple flying experience.   I did not have a lot of other sophisticated tools that I was never going to use making it a perfect fit for my needs.

A hospital that handles a small number of patients every week may not need a highly complex clinical system like those used in hospitals serving hundreds of patients per week.  Clinical solutions purpose-built for community or critical access hospitals should not be considered poor quality products if they do not support clinical activities which are not offered by these facilities.

Selecting an EHR system more complicated than your needs will likely require increased support resources. It can often impair clinical quality by making processes needlessly complex.

I recommend consideration of the following before making your EHR selection:

  • Does workflow (jobs, tasks, sequencing, quality assurance) enable sound operations by capable, skilled clinicians?
  • Do clinical artifacts (diagnostic reports, chart presentations, orders, medications, others) conform with published professional guidance?
  • Supports the menu of clinical services generally expected of comparable facilities?
  • Are availability and integrity of information highly reliable?
  • Are adoption and use of evidence-based practice, compliance with published professional and industry standards, accreditation and “pay for performance” standards actively supported?

MEDHOST, Healthland, Paragon and most other community hospital EHRs are purpose built to “fit the hand” of clinical staff providing care in the community hospital setting.  Workflow options are simpler (and much easier to understand and execute).  Clinical services supported may not include organ transplants or rarely needed tests but what you deliver is supported.  The quality of clinical tools, presentations, safety, quality assurance and support help enable sound clinical practice which is on par with the highest published standards and practices.

Community hospitals serve a unique role as primary care facilities, bringing access and crucial medical services to towns and communities.  As a group, they share common operating capabilities, scale and challenges.  Experience demonstrates that the unique challenges of these facilities are best served by tools which are created for this express purpose.

Community hospital working on strategy?  Contact BrightWork Advisory, LLC to help craft strategy.

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