Quick story to illustrate how one word, misunderstood and untested, can lead to tremendous challenges:
In a specialty practice, providers dictated their notes. They were assured that post-implementation, they would still be able to dictate. This made the providers happy. After go-live, providers dictated their notes as they always had, into portable tape recorders, and dropped the tapes off to be transcribed with the front desk assistant.
Providers grew very frustrated when, after a few days, their transcribed notes were not appearing in patients’ charts. After multiple help desk calls, visits from IT staff, some yelling and a few threats to unplug every machine here (that is a quote!)…still no resolution. The IT staff came to test the providers’ computers and make sure that audio was working, sound files could be heard. Since they could, it was determined that it wasn’t an IT problem. Help desk ticket closed…those spoiled doctors…insert eyeroll here.
The problem? The IT understanding of dictation (speaking into a microphone attached to a PC so that a .wav file is created) and the providers understanding of dictation (speak into a separate recording device and have information transcribed) were very different. No one had validated the proposed workflow for dictation, agreed upon it and had it tested by those who would be using it. When IT tested it, it worked – for what they thought would happen. Providers were not given the opportunity to test, only placated and brushed aside.
It may sound obvious, but it is imperative to get users involved in the documentation of workflows and testing because they are the people who will be most impacted when misunderstandings arise. While it may be tempting to do whatever is necessary to make end users smile in the short term (or get them off your phone/out of your inbox) it is better for the organization in the long run to take the time to confirm and test the proposed workflows.
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