By: Cathy Thomas Hess, BSN, RN, CWCN, Vice President, Chief Clinical Officer for Wounds, Net Health
In 2010, I read a fascinating book entitled The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, MD. The Checklist Manifesto discussed how the volume and complexity of medicine had skyrocketed, coupled with the fact that technology and medical specialization have also moved healthcare at a rapid pace. The communication within the book provides a straightforward message: the development of well-designed checklists can improve outcomes.
While reading this book at the time, I realized that much of what we do in healthcare is followed through the implementation of mental and written checklists1 with steps that lead to an outcome.
Today, we continue to follow clinical and operational rules and regulations to maintain our compliance with standards. Creating checklists can assist in maintaining compliance and providing an audit tool to ensure compliance. Creating a checklist is also key to developing and managing your workflow.
Let’s look at the value of developing and managing your clinical documentation workflow. With so many clinical and regulatory requirements, it is important to take a “wound care workflow time-out” to ensure your documentation is up to date and compliant with the ever-changing rules.
Creating Optimal Patient Flow and Care
Designing clinical and operational workflows requires reviewing and customizing current clinical and documentation practices for an efficient outcome. Current practices include the operational processes for registration, coding, medical records, billing, and the cognitive workflow by the clinicians. Producing the right mix of operational oversight and clinical experience, grounded in a solid documentation system, will deliver efficient business practices within your electronic medical record and optimal patient flow and care.
Investing time and expertise in developing appropriate workflows is imperative and a team effort. When creating workflows, it is essential to consider how the workflow design will affect documentation through managing messages, scheduling patients, checking in and rooming patients, conducting the patient examination, managing medications, and discharging the patient.* This investment yields patient satisfaction, improved department processes to increase efficiency, reduced errors, and improved outcomes, as well as patient and staff safety.
It’s a Team Effort!
Developing smart workflows within a practice begins with a checklist. It takes time, patience, and a team effort. Ultimately, the intelligent workflow process will alleviate chaos in patient flow and lead to maximized efficiencies, enhanced clinical and operational quality, patient safety, streamlined documentation, and improved care coordination.
The healthcare industry is constantly evolving, and your workflow should guide your process. Examine your process as this is the key to a successful implementation. Look closely at changes required to adapt to new technology, regulations, processes, and procedures. Clinical and operational intelligence lies within your smart workflow processes.
We’ll get you Started
Need some help and motivation? Here’s a checklist I created a few years ago and recently updated – it covers Clinical, Operational and Regulatory Workflow Strategies. But remember, each organization is unique, so ensure you tailor your checklist to meet your organizational and staff needs.
*A checklist is defined as a list of items to be noted, checked, or remembered.
Your Workflow Checklist for 2022
Clinical, Operational and Regulatory Workflow Strategies