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by Cerner Corporation
Published on March 28, 2018

National Doctors’ Day is Friday, March 30. This is an opportunity to thank physicians, recognize their sacrifices and celebrate the value of their contributions to communities throughout the world. In honor of Doctors’ Day, we have compiled nine blog posts that deliver a physician perspective on current health IT issues.

1. Getting Physicians Involved in the Business of Care and Revenue Management

Dr. Tinu Tadese is a Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA)-Certified Healthcare Finance Professional. With this unique perspective, Tadese considers how a fundamental redesign of the industry’s approach to revenue cycle management can drive much-needed improvements in the financial solvency of health care organizations. Physician engagement is paramount to a hospital’s bottom line. By aligning physician values and focusing on revenue integrity, providers can achieve organizational goals from the top down. 

“Physicians’ attitudes toward the business of care and revenue cycle management won’t change unless the organization’s culture does. Leadership should deliberately campaign to identify, train, elevate, authorize and compensate physician leaders at different levels – that way, the cultural shift can start from within the core team.” 

2. Engaged Empathy in Health Care

Dr. Priti Lakhani, director of Physician Alignment at Cerner, writes about the value of clinical empathy in order to understand patients on an emotional level. Many researchers believe empathy can be taught in medical schools, which can ultimately improve exchanges between doctors and patients. According to Lakhani, empathy doesn’t require a script – it’s merely about showing up and listening to patients.

“Emotions are generally outside a person’s control, especially in the case of a patient who is receiving a jarring medical diagnosis. Too often, doctors end up overloading their patient with information and advice without considering what the patient might be going through. When we engage in empathy and when we put ourselves in the patient’s shoes, we’ve got a better chance of making a connection and improving the clinical outcome.”

3. How Physicians Can Combat the Opioid Epidemic

In this blog, Cerner Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jigar Patel discusses how clinicians are uniquely poised to address the nation’s opioid crisis with Dr. Patrice Harris, chair of the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Opioid Task Force. Although the complicated nature of health care makes it difficult to apply one overarching strategy to prevent opioid-related overdose and death, Harris provided six recommendations for physicians who are looking to actively combat the opioid crisis. 

“We know that there is an appropriate ‘zeal’ in reaching solutions to the opioid epidemic. Our solutions need to be thoughtful. It’s a bit cliché, but as we think through solutions, we need to remove ourselves from our silos and build bridges. This is a collaborative effort.” 

4. How Mobile Technology Can Impact Care Team Communications

It’s no secret that the evolution of the smartphone has changed the way we communicate with one another. In this blog, John Gresham, vice president and general manager of DeviceWorks and Interoperability at Cerner, considers the change in mobile technology as it relates to the infrastructure of health care organizations. Through sophisticated mobile health technology platforms, care team coordination has been impacted in a way that has dramatically reduced clinician burden.

“It seems obvious, but without continuous availability of the platform and reliability of those systems, care team communications fall apart. Clinicians depend on their devices to make decisions about their patients, so the technology must be highly reliable and virtually bulletproof.” 

Read more from John Gresham: How IoT and AI are Changing the Business of Health Care 

5. Leveraging the Patient Portal to Improve Patient Experience

Donna Hart, chief information officer at Cook County Health and Hospitals System, uses the words “customers” and “patients” interchangeably. According to her, customer satisfaction directly correlates to customer loyalty and better business outcomes. After launching the MyCookCountyHealth portal, Hart and her team have successfully improved care coordination and modernized the health care experience for thousands of individuals throughout Cook County, the nation’s second-most populous county. 

“Thanks to shifts in consumer behavior patterns and technological advancements, the health care industry is facing an increasingly savvy customer base that has high expectations when it comes to services and treatment. This means that today’s hospitals and health care systems need to turn their attention not only to specific parts of the patient experience – not just to treating a specific care episode or prescribing a medication for an illness – but on the entire span of the patient’s interaction with the organization.” 

6. How HIT Can Help Physicians Avoid Burnout 

Dr. Chris Lewis, a physician executive at Cerner, knows firsthand how susceptible members of care teams are to burnout. In fact, many experts suggest that more than 50 percent of physicians have experience the symptoms of burnout. In this blog, Lewis uncovers four root causes of burnout. He also explains how access to flexible EHR training can reduce stressors and contribute to the industry-wide fight against burnout.

“We like to be more strategic than tactical; however, we often spend our days in survival mode. We devote most of our time taking care of the things that come crashing into our windshield at any given moment. Because of this, we are not always able to remain as engaged in our day-to-day work as we might like to be.” 

7. 5 Essential Principles of Alignment for Health Care Organizations 

In this blog, Dick Flanigan, president of Cerner Health Services and Client Relationships Support, examines the critical nature of strategic alignment and shared principles within an organization. From understanding the role of IT in health care to preparing for a balance of successes and failures, these five principles help explain the complex relationship between physicians, organizations and patient populations. 

“Even the most agile health care providers aren't guaranteed success without alignment. When I think about the ways health IT providers and health care providers can achieve alignment, it's about more than just agreeing on a strategy and selecting solutions.” 

Hear more from Dick Flanigan in this episode of The Cerner Podcast: Dick Flanigan on Cultural Change in the Health IT Industry 

8. Dr. Will Stadler on America's Opioid Crisis and Opioid Epidemic 

More than 115 Americans die each day after overdosing on opioids, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. From prescription pain relievers to heroin and synthetic drugs, the illness of addition had grown to become a national epidemic. In episode 43 of The Cerner Podcast, Dr. Will Stadler, director and solution executive of Behavioral Health at Cerner, joined us to talk about addiction and how health care providers can be integral in preventing the upward trend we have seen in recent years.

“We’re dramatically underfunded with respect to being able to assist individuals that have not only behavioral health challenges, but individuals who need pain management, for example. One of the things that care providers can do today is seek education and seek awareness.”

Read more from Dr. William Stadler: Workplaces Can Benefit from a Mental Health First Aid Program 

9. Data-Driven Decisions Empower Value in Health Care Systems

Durenda Juergensen, chief nursing officer of Health System Operations at Cerner, believes that value is in the eyes of consumer. It is how we define this value that can guide our individual or organizational principles, which in turn define the culture within our organizations. In this blog, Juergensen looks at how the industry is using clinical and operational data to drive value, suggesting that leaders in health care need to prioritize incorporating data into workflows to inform process improvement strategies.

“In health care systems, core values are critical. The core values help create the organization’s foundation and strategy for clinicians and all other staff, and we shouldn’t think of value as a code word for reduction of expenses or an abstract idea.” 

Do you want more health IT insights? Check out Cerner's Perspectives, a thought leadership publication.

Tackling the Opioid Epidemic: Where to Begin

by Dr. Michael Fadden
July 16, 2018
Introducing a few “can do now” projects that mitigate the inadvertent complicity of health care providers in the opioid epidemic, connect patients earlier to treatment and strive to prevent fatal overdoses.

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The Impact of Shared Decision Making: Q&A with HealthDecision’s Dr. Jon Keevil

by Cerner Corporation | Dr. Jon Keevil
June 27, 2018
Today, arriving at a health care decision is more often highlighted to be a collaborative process between a clinician and patient – a process known as shared decision making (SDM).

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Ep. 81: University of Missouri Health's Bryan Bliven on Improving Quality Performance in Health Care

by Bryan Bliven
June 26, 2018
In this episode of The Cerner Podcast, Bryan Bliven, chief information officer at University of Missouri Health, discusses the role associates with IT expertise can play across the health care spectrum, the impact they can have if positioned properly and how a quality improvement tracker can tie results into operations and employee reviews.

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