Many providers express growing frustration with their EHRs, and having to adjust their workflow to meet the needs of the technology. Problems with IT usability often contribute to physician burnout, which is why I decided to pursue the field of clinical informatics. Why should technology create burdens for care teams, instead of making their jobs easier? And, more importantly, what can we do about it?
As caregivers, we all fall victim to “alert fatigue,” when the sheer number of alerts a clinician receives causes them to unknowingly miss important safety warnings. Ironically, all these alerts that are meant to improve patient safety can cause workers to become desensitized and potentially miss important warnings; from incessant smartphone buzzing, to tablet chimes or the blinking red indicators of your EHR.
As Medical Director of Clinical Document Improvement at St. Joseph Health, it is my department’s responsibility to facilitate an accurate representation of a patient’s clinical status, which can be translated into useable, coded data. This data is then processed into quality reporting, physician report cards, public health data, disease tracking, and ultimately reimbursement. As a multi-specialty 380-bed hospital in Orange, CA, with one of the busiest Emergency Departments west of the Mississippi, getting our physicians to document has been an important responsibility.