Digitization is well underway. In many hospitals, multidisciplinary teams are currently working on eliminating paper as soon as possible. It has already been widely accepted that the appropriate transition to an electronic documentation increases treatment quality while minimizing medical errors.
High-quality patient care that scores
Criteria like treatment quality and patient safety are not only relevant for the patient but are also becoming increasingly important for population health management. It is, therefore, already essential to exploit the benefits of digitization, which go far beyond electronic patient charts.
In the context of treatment quality and patient safety, the use of standards and evidence-based pathways for treatment is often referenced. These constitute best practices that have already been evaluated and are sometimes considered the ‘gold standard’ during treatment. Medical staff, however, are being challenged with an exponential increase of knowledge and the necessity to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. Large clinics especially are confronted with the question of how they can ensure consistent treatment across all departments.
Order sets – simple implementation and management of treatment standards
In fact, the answer to this question is provided by IT, as Cerner’s i.s.h.med® solution includes the option to define treatment standards using order sets. Clinicians receive a checklist of steps to perform based on the patient’s (suspected) diagnosis, ranging from the order of additional diagnostics to therapy recommendations. Order sets combine functionality that would usually need to be triggered separately in one central application to accelerate workflows. The order sets’ parameterability leads to a high degree of flexibility, allowing clients to customize contents and to roll them out across the entire clinic.
Clients who do not have the capacity to develop and to import treatment processes themselves can benefit from Cerner’s partnership with Elsevier: the medical publisher provides evidence-based pathways that can easily be imported into i.s.h.med. Since knowledge can become obsolete in a matter of days, regular updates can be subscribed to as well. Clinics such as university hospitals that aim to be one step ahead or seek to add customized standards can do so by using a content management system. This enables hospitals to establish their diagnostics and therapies based on current, evidence-based pathways to provide high-quality patient care.
Digitization – getting it right from the beginning
However, the implementation of order sets needs to be carefully planned. The more processes are supported digitally, the more efficiently order sets can be used to accelerate workflows. Experiences have already been gathered from pilot clients who have already successfully implemented order sets during treatment of patients suffering from Parkinson's disease. These have shown that these comfortable solutions provide the most benefit when they are already considered during the planning of the electronic chart, medication, and nursing process digitization and adjusted accordingly. This is due to the fact that the electronic chart, medication, and nursing process components closely interact with each other and need to be optimally aligned.
Order sets serve as a great example to educate both users and patients on the enormous potential of digitization.