Quality Improvement activities are used in an agency to improve processes that will increase efficiency and/or effectiveness of services and also client satisfaction.
An electronic health record (EHR), such as Nightingale Notes, can be an invaluable part of this process.
Through the use of the PDSA rapid cycle method or LEAN techniques, for instance, QI Teams can make use of the client, service, program, time and financial data in Nightingale Notes to assist them in identifying the problem, setting an AIM statement and analyzing possible solutions.
Once improvement cycles have begun, the data from Nightingale Notes becomes essential to see whether a new process is actually an improvement.
Then, once adopted as a process change, the data can again be used to sustain the gain with frequent and regular feedback to the affected staff members and management.
Here are some possible ways teams can use an EHR such as Nightingale Notes:
1. Use the querying by report feature
Use the querying by report feature to look for areas that present an Opportunity for Improvement (OFI).
This can be a standardized, ongoing process by specific programs as well as by the QI Coordinator.
The Board and Management can use the data to point the way to areas where it is cost beneficial to invest the time to improve.
2. Mine the data
Mine the data by querying any client descriptors matched with program enrollment matched with services provided.
In addition, a deeper dive into the data describes the actual staff interventions/actions/grant deliverables in clear standardized data that is consistent across time and different staff members’ input.
The consistency of the data is invaluable in comparing what “was” to what “is” after an improvement cycle has occurred.
3. Design custom data collection tabs
With an EHR like Nightingale Notes, designing custom data collection tabs is easily done by the user and there is no need for IT support.
Collect any specific and unique data for just that QI project. The data collection is done seamlessly with the normal workflow of the staff’s use of the database.
4. Use outcome measures
Outcome measures are built into the Nightingale Notes service documentation screen.
These measure whether the actions of the staff are making any difference. These are numerical, standardized measures that can provide statistical significance of staff actions, displayed in a graph or table.
5. Obtain data that is flexible and adaptable
You can obtain data that is flexible and adaptable to changing indicators or QI team efforts. All coding changes are in the hands of the agency with the ability to add codes for any current question of a QI team.
These are some excellent ways to help gather data from your EHR and make it work for you. Using your data to help you improve processes and increase efficiency allows you to not only do Quality Improvement activities, but to sustain those changes and be able to prove the profitability of those activities as well. As you can see, an EHR such as Nightingale Notes can be a great benefit to your Quality Improvement goals.
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