A recent HIMSS report noted that organizations worldwide at different stages of maturity can benefit from developing their digital foundation through information-rich decision support solutions, both external and interoperable with their electronic health record (EHR): “Clinicians can better inform care and decision-making, patients can become more active participants in their care plans, and Health IT developers and implementers can leverage evidence to create and adopt systems that support clinical processes and improve care delivery.”
To make this task easier, technology leaders can use three core criteria to assess and prioritize investments that move their organizations along the digital maturity curve. Investments should:
- Enable the organization to advance or meet HIT accreditation to increase patient and clinician confidence.
- Align caregivers by providing one trusted source of truth to inform and expedite clinical knowledge-sharing and decision-making.
- Support and strengthen the organization’s digital foundation to meet current and future clinical, organizational, and operating goals.
Evolving integrated safety screening for the future
For many organizations, the ability to conduct effective medication screening and send timely, actionable alerts to clinical team members about medication errors or interactions is a top-tier priority. Organization leaders, with input from technology leaders, can determine how and when they invest in integrating a screening solution, and what functionality is needed.
The journey to medication decision support maturity
- Medication decision support begins with basic computerized screening that alerts clinicians to medication contraindications, potential prescription or dosing errors, and other simple safety concerns related to information about the drugs themselves. The alerts will all be clustered at the end of the medication order process, and information may not be updated frequently.
- More enabled decision support will take into account basic patient information (such as age, gender, known allergies) when screening for potential medication safety issues. However, clustered alerts will still be delivered at the end of the process, and content updates will likely be infrequent.
- Personalized solutions allow screening at scale, taking into account more sophisticated patient data (such as weight, comorbidities, EGFR, drug latency) for more precise screening, backed by more frequent content updates. Consolidated alerts are delivered “just-in-time,” at each step of the process for more efficiency.
- Additional maturity is achieved with more constant content updates, even more patient data touch points, and the ability to analyze impact.
Technology investments contribute to HIT accreditation
When choosing or making a referral to a healthcare organization, primary physicians and patients rely on an organization’s reputation for operational excellence and quality care, and accreditations can positively impact that. Technology leaders at healthcare organizations play a key role in securing and maintaining useful certifications and accreditations, which vary in scope. Some accreditation authorities will evaluate an organization’s data and information security protocols and history, and implementation of clinical decision support systems and solutions.
Medication decision support systems can help healthcare organizations use accreditation initiatives to close critical internal operating gaps or to better connect with external partners, such as pharmacies. The journey of China Medical University Hospital (CMUH) in Taiwan to move from HIMSS Stage 6 to Stage 7 certification for its Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) is illustrative. Dr. Pai Peiying, the hospital’s director of general internal medicine responsible for projects such as structuring hospital medical records and system optimization, identified drug management as an opportunity. CMUH invested in maturing its solution to generate more actionable alerts for clinicians to consider in optimizing prescriptions.
Investing in solutions for resiliency and sustainability
Advanced data and information technologies continue to transform how whole sectors operate, as well as reset expectations about quality, speed, and personalized service. The choices and investments made by technology leaders in healthcare organizations have a direct impact on care quality, patient and clinician satisfaction, and cost and operating efficiency. Consequently, defining and executing a digital transformation roadmap and strengthening the digital foundation with best-in-class, trusted medication safety screening solutions have never been more important.
To learn more, download the eBook, “Staying Ahead of the Curve: Digital Medication Decision Support Solutions Should Evolve at the Speed of HIT.”