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December 1, 2011
4 Min Read
7 Patient Education Tools
7 Patient Education Tools (click image for larger view and for slideshow)
In a move that will bolster its ability to help clinicians use electronic health records (EHRs), Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), a Xerox company, recently acquired The Breakaway Group and its product, PromisePoint, which uses simulation technology to train clinicians on electronic health records (EHR).
ACS officials said that PromisePoint will allow its healthcare customers to practice using an EHR in the same way pilots use flight simulators. By mimicking doctors' offices and hospital environments, the system lets clinicians enter orders and document patient care into an EHR without jeopardizing real patient data.
"ACS can now ensure hospitals are effectively adopting the technology we've already been helping them select and implement--and making better use of the data they collect to help patients," Chad Harris, group president of Healthcare Provider Solutions for ACS, told InformationWeek Healthcare. "Users who learn in a simulated environment achieve higher knowledge and confidence and adopt applications faster. Compared to one-time training events, the role-based simulators allow users to practice what they learn, test through trial and error, and receive feedback on their performance."
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As the providers add new technology to meet the challenges of Meaningful Use requirements, ICD-10 compliance, and the integration of mobile devices, they can customize the PromisePoint tool to imitate the desktop, laptop, or tablet setup for a specific hospital or doctor's office. The software also lets trainees see how information is presented by different EHR vendors, including Cerner, Allscripts, Epic, or McKesson.
The Breakaway Group's tool can help healthcare providers address regulatory and technological changes, as well as staffing changes or the addition of new departments.
"Let's assume a 200-bed community hospital implemented an EMR last year and is struggling with physician adoption. In this example, The Breakaway Group's technology would ensure that physicians are informed and engaged, working closely with stakeholders to redesign and improve hospital workflow," Harris said.
Harris noted that The Breakaway Group has a think tank conducting research to stay up-to-date with new rules, upgrades, and new challenges, including ICD-10 compliance. Furthermore, PromisePoint develops and tracks metrics to gauge end-user proficiency and clinical outcomes, providing insight into specific areas in need of improvement. Organizations also can use the technology to sustain adoption long after the system goes live.
A recently published study by AmericanEHR Partners on EHR/EMR training revealed that doctors need at least three to five days of training, but nearly half (49.3%) of the 2,300 physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners who participated in the survey said they receive three or fewer days of EHR training.
At the time the report was published, Alan Brookstone, CEO at Cientis Technologies Inc., said, "When you do an initial implementation, in order to just get people started on using an EHR system properly, they need at least three to five days of training. However, in order to get effective use they need a lot more than that."
AmericanEHR Partners was founded by the American College of Physicians and Cientis Technologies. William Underwood, senior associate, Center for Practice Improvement & Innovation at the American College of Physicians, said the ACS acquisition could prove to be an innovative approach that will help healthcare providers address the challenges hospitals and medical practices are facing with rapidly implementing health IT systems.
"If it can be done in a cost-effective manner, the concept of using a simulated environment will likely appeal to many providers," Underwood said in an interview with InformationWeek Healthcare.
Underwood cautioned, however, that many providers might question whether the program can actually simulate the clinical experience, and noted that ACS will need to gain the active support of EHR vendors to effectively reach providers.
In the meantime, officials at The Breakaway Group claim providers who use PromisePoint boost EHR adoption rates up to 70% faster than the industry standard.
When are emerging technologies ready for clinical use? In the new issue of InformationWeek Healthcare, find out how three promising innovations--personalized medicine, clinical analytics, and natural language processing--show the trade-offs. Download the issue now. (Free registration required.)
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