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IBM Case Manager for Coordinated Patient Care Jake Levirne, Sr. Product Manager for Enterprise Content Management solutions IBM interviewed by Tom Koulopoulo…

Since the push to deploy electronic health records (EHRs) began in earnest with passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, health IT vendors have encountered and overcome many organizational and technical challenges to implement complex repositories of clinical and administrative data. This being the case, health systems seeking to implement EHR technology can learn valuable lessons from the experiences of early adopters.

Many of you will remember my previous post about Patient Alert Fatigue . Managing alert fatigue with patients, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals is a really important subject. Let me offer some suggestions that will hopefully help those creating EMR and other healthcare software deal with alert fatigue. These three simple suggestions will go along way to ensuring you don’t encounter alert fatigue: Provide Value, Meet Expectations, and Allow Customization. Provide Value – It seems like a simple concept, but it’s extremely important. The key here is to avoid alerts that don’t provide value. The challenge is that it’s often hard to know which type of alert will provide value and which ones won’t. In the case of patients, you should probably error on the side of missing some alerts that could have provided value. In the case of doctors, you should probably error on the side of a few extra alerts that they can dismiss quickly if not appropriate. Meet Expectations – Related to this is the impression you give the end user about the alerts. Have you created an expectation that they’ll get every alert? If that’s the case, then you better deliver on that expectation. However, if the end user realizes that the alerts won’t cover everything, then they will not depend on an alert. It’s the alert dependency that causes problems. Once someone expects an alert and you don’t deliver, you’re in deep trouble. Allow Customization – As discussed above, each person has a different tolerance for alerts. So, allowing them to customize their alert preference is key. Plus, the next generation of digital natives are keenly aware of adjusting their alert preferences. This means that the need to be able to customize alert preferences is only going to grow. Plus, each institution has its own alert preferences as well. Over time I expect that healthcare’s alert preferences will become really sophisticated. There’s a lot of art involved in managing alert fatigue. However, if you follow these three suggestions, you will go a long way to mastering the alert fatigue art. Related Posts Patient Alert Fatigue Alert Fatigue and Clinical Decision Support Communication With Providers, Patient Alert Fatigue, and #HealthIT — #HITsm Chat Highlights

Here in Iowa, we like to get going early. That’s particularly the case with my hospital.

The idea of improving communication in healthcare is always a hot one. For fear of HIPAA and other factors, healthcare seems to lag behind when adopting the latest communication technologies. The most simple examples are email and text message. Both are simple and widely adopted communication technologies and most in healthcare are afraid to use them. At the core of why people are afraid is because native email is not HIPAA secure and native SMS is not HIPAA secure either. Although, there are a whole suite of communication products that are working to solve the healthcare communication security challenges while still keeping the simplicity of an email or text message. In fact, both of the other companies I’ve started or advise, Physia and docBeat , are focused on the problems of secure email and secure text. Plus, there are dozens of other companies working to improve healthcare communication and hundreds of EMR, PHR, and HIE applications that are integrating these forms of communication into their systems. As we enter this brave new world of healthcare communication, it’s worth considering some of the intricacies of email vs text. The following tweet is a good place to start. @ danmunro – A1: Email is an interesting place to start, but much ignored – only 5% to 20% open rates. Text msgs opened at a 97% clip. #HITsm — Ken Congdon (@KenOnHIT) April 5, 2013 This is really interesting to note and I can confirm those are the general statistics for most email campaigns out there today. I’m not sure of the number of texts that are open, but it’s clear that the number of text messages that are opened is very high. The reason this is the case is because of the expectation of what’s inside a text message vs an email. When you receive a text, you can be sure that it won’t take up more than a moment of your time. You can consume it quickly and move on with your life. The same is usually not the case with email (especially email lists). Most of the emails that are sent are lengthy because they can be. We try and pack every option imaginable into an email and so people have an expectation that if they start with the email they’re going to need time. I know this is the case because my email subscribers often thank me for my emails because they know they can get something of value quickly. I think it was Dan Munro that pointed out an exception to the email open rate. His idea was that if the email contains an action item, then open rates are much higher. This was a good insight. There’s little doubt that if an email contains something that you have to do, then more people will open it and do the action. I don’t get a bill in my email and then don’t open it. I have to open it so I can pay the bill. I’m sure this principle can be applied in a number of ways to healthcare. As we finally bring these common communication technologies to healthcare we need to be thoughtful about which ones we use and when we use them. Related posts: Text Messages from An EMR Telcoms Store SMS Text Message Details – Not HIPAA Compliant Email Archiving in the Healthcare Industry – Guest Post

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