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Essential clinical dataset

More time to care: The benefits of the Essential Clinical Dataset

24 June 2021 | By Jordanna Davis

In the transition from paper-based to digitally enabled healthcare across the region, many health information systems have been designed to directly reflect pre-existing paper-based workflows in a digital format. The inclusion of redundant datasets can create noise in the digital workflow and result in extended task lists and less time spent at the bedside. Nursing documentation has the potential to become a burdensome and lengthy process, ultimately impacting the time nurses have available to deliver value at the bedside and care for the patient. Leveraging simplified digital workflow design and the power of digitised decision support can change this.

Cerner’s senior vice president and chief clinical and patient safety officer, Eva Karp, believes that evidence-based, standardised essential clinical datasets that are developed in alignment with national standards are vital elements of contemporary digital health - “if it’s not communicating, collaborating or co-ordinating, stop doing it – it’s just noise”.

Working in close collaboration with a number of clients to determine which data is critically important to capture during a patient care journey, and which should be considered non-essential, Cerner has designed the Essential Clinical Dataset (ECD). The aim of the ECD is to enable more patient-focused nursing time, as well as to identify opportunities for improvement in the quality of captured data.

Already implemented across many healthcare facilities within the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, ECD has proven its ability to give valuable time back to the nurse, enabling them to spend more time on critical patient care tasks. Organisations have collectively seen a reduction of 1,423 nursing documentation hours and 7.9 million clicks, with a 28.7% decrease in the average time required to complete a standard adult admission. This has also resulted in improved quality of the clinical data that is captured during a patient’s admission and supports a reduction in data duplication. In addition, establishing essential clinical nursing elements also provides a structure for mapping to national standards to enable shareable and comparable nursing datasets.

Using the three-pronged methodology of evidenced-based practice, adherence to national standards, and practice-based evidence, Cerner is working alongside Australian clients to establish a national standard ECD, leverageable across all Cerner clients including as part of Model Experience content. Sydney Local Health District (SLHD) is pioneering ECD in the region, and after re-evaluating their adult admission processes using the Cerner ECD principles, the team have substantially reduced the amount of required documentation at admission. SLHD are currently planning the commencement of phase two: the build and implementation of their newly designed form.