The Power of Plugged-In Physicians

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media , May 25, 2012

Slowness breeds apathy, or worse, workarounds.

"What happens to end-users is they stop asking for things because it's pointless. It's not going to change. Their whole attitude changes from 'How can I make it better' to 'How can I work around it,'" Smith says. "Systems bypassed can turn into really bad outcomes later."

The fastest he's acted on information requests is 10 minutes, although Smith acknowledges that it took several months to get the right combination of real-time data to indicate whether a patient is in danger of sepsis.

"One thing we're taking advantage of is that since we are computer engineers, we know what it takes to pull that data. Others don't. To them it's some sort of black magic," Smith says. "Meanwhile, what really helps is when you walk in and can show them, 'Here it is. I did this last night.'"

As different as the YES Board is from five years ago, says Smith, "it won't look this way next week," because the data physicians request is constantly being tweaked to make it better, more intuitive, and more quickly processed.

"As much data as you see on here," says Smith, "I've never seen a request to remove data."

And I've never heard a better argument for asking your physicians what they need to achieve the organization's goals, making sure they have the tools and expertise to get it, and then getting out of the way.

Philip Betbeze is senior leadership editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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