Understanding Workflow Design
Workflow entails the processes and activities that are coordinated within a setup which leads to provision of services to the users. It forms a framework from which various procedures are undertaken. The analysis and assessment of the workflow design provide for the determination of the implementation process and operations that can either be clinical or administrative (Koppel, &Kreda, 2010).
The workflow assessment for health IT toolkit uses three concepts that are essential in the use of technology. The first concept entails learning more about the workflow to understand the existing system. The second concept entails finding examples for assessing the workflow (“Workflow Assessment for Health IT Toolkit | AHRQ National Resource Center; Health Information Technology: Best Practices Transforming Quality, Safety, and Efficiency”, n.d). This entails various tools that are used in the work process. During the implementation process of technology, various stages are involved containing different tools. While determining the requirement for the new system a checklist and critical process involved in this identification is made.
In vendor selection, the system is tested by the providers and the clerks. At this moment, conversation with other users is vital. In preparing for the implementation, the proposed workflow is mapped, and likely issues related to the use of the system are determined. The assessment of the workflow and its adjustment comes in the period of post implementation of the system with the use of health information technology system to improve it. The third concept covered in the toolkit reading on the experiences of other users of the same system. This will provide evidence of the outcome of implementation made by others, and it may be a source of adjustment or improvement.
To gain an understanding of the effect of the system design and the workflow on healthcare provision, we will explore an example in a workplace to display the current workflow and develop a new workflow design to improve the process. The case is a workflow presenting the activities involved when the patient is being admitted. In our psychiatric unit, the patient is accompanied by the security personnel and the ER technician to the nurses’ desk for taking of vital signs. The nurse then stays with the patient as the security personnel checks the belongings of the patient and securing them. The patient is then taken to the admission room where skin and body assessment is conducted and findings recorded on the skin assessment form. The patient is later interviewed by the admission nurse and information entered on the electronic health records. The patient is then given theoretical information before the orientation to the unit.
The processes indicate various instances of insufficiencies including both operational and clinical which by the use of technology and changing the order of events can be improved. For example, taking vital signs, physical examination as well as interviewing the patient can be done in one centre to reduce the time spent in moving within the service delivery points. At the same time, with the existing HER records in the unit, the system can be modified and upgraded to ensure direct entry of vital signs upon measuring from the pressure cuffs. This will reduce the time taken by the nurse to record such data.
The information from the skin assessment tools can be entered directly into the EHR system without using the assessment form. The form may be incorporated into the system with the expected outcomes placed on the choices hence data entry will only entail clicking on the relevant outcomes of the assessment. This will reduce the time for both typing as well as writing the assessment results in the form. Similarly, all these information will be available for use by all the staffs and no need of repetition in conducting such assessments unless there is a need. From this case, the insufficiencies identified can be determined through evaluation of the workflow and changed via the use of tools such as EHRs and change of operations.
It is critical to determine the impact of technology on the workflow since it may come with pitfalls that if not discovered through assessment and corrected can interfere with the service delivery (Huser et al., 2011). The outcome of this evaluation provides the organization with a way forward pertaining the improvement of the situation for efficiency in the post-implementation period.
Huser, V., Rasmussen, L. V., Oberg, R., &Starren, J. B. (2011). Implementation of workflow
engine technology to deliver basic clinical decision support functionality. BMC medical
research methodology, 11(1), 43.
Koppel, R., &Kreda, D. A. (2010). Healthcare IT usability and suitability for clinical needs:
challenges of design, workflow, and contractual relations. Stud Health Technol Inform,
McGonigle, D., &Mastrian, K. (Eds.). (2014). Nursing informatics and the foundation of
knowledge. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Workflow Assessment for Health IT Toolkit | AHRQ National Resource Center; Health
Information Technology: Best Practices Transforming Quality, Safety, and Efficiency.
(n.d). Healthit.ahrq.gov. Retrieved 10 January 2018, from https://healthit.ahrq.gov/health-