As efforts to implement the EHR move forward in every hospital, leadership should take note of the following four steps; each step provides an opportunity to make progress on next-generation care management.
- Formally link all strategies and plans for EHR roll-out with quality goals (the examples above, plus at least a subset of all measures required by the Joint Commission and CMS provide a starting point).
- Involve all of the key roles in planning, design, and implementation support. Next-generation care management will require not just physicians and nurses, but also case managers, quality nurses, and data management and analysis specialists, all working as a team.
- Ensure that EHR roll-out and quality management initiatives are making progress in parallel and that meaningful use of each increment of EHR implementation ensures that added capabilities (more data for patient identification and tracking, new uses of clinical decision support) are put to work.
- Build real-time data analytics into the IT infrastructure and ensure that the necessary searchable data store is appropriately structured and searchable. This may require influencing the product development plans of the major EHR vendor partner or implementing one or more additional applications.
It's time to look forward instead of in the rearview mirror.
Jane Metzger and David Classen are with CSC. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, respectively.