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Case Study: Vitality Health
February 14, 2020

identify health informatics process I would like to improve

Process Improvement paper
Posted on: Monday, February 3, 2020 10:08:15 PM EST

Hello Everyone-

Below is an explanation that gives very specific information regarding the expectations of the paper that is due in Week 6.  An exemplar is also attached so you are able to view an entire completed project.  I am also adding a resource to assist with writing SMART goals.  SMART is an acronym that defines the elements that should be included when writing goals and objectives and stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time limited.  The resource will give you more specific information, but to summarize you want to be certain the objectives written for the process improvement paper are very specific, measurable with a defined method of measurement and time frame in which the measurement will take place.  Of course all goals/objectives should be achievable and relevant to the project. 

The purpose of this assignment is for you to identify a healthcare informatics process that you would like to improve or computerize, and then develop a process for how this improvement will be implemented and evaluated. An important element of any change process is identifying short and long range objectives, developing a methodology to measure those objectives, and identifying factors in the internal and external environment that can affect the success of your project. With respect to the objectives, unlike assignments in other courses, such as 511, they should specify, in measurable terms, what you expect to achieve in the short and long run as a result of the project being implemented. In other words, these are not objectives related to how you will implement the change, because that will be described in the implementation plan. For example, let’s say that you work in the ED and fall risk is not assessed (or assessed sometimes) for patients of a certain age or diagnosis, or some other parameter. If you are proposing an informatics change to ensure that patients are assessed for fall risk, then a short-range objective might be 100% compliance with completing a fall risk assessment.

The process that you select to improve can be as simple as wanting a field on an EHR screen to help capture necessary information or wanting a program to help document a process that currently remains in paper form.  Previous students have written about computerizing various assessment tools, such as those to evaluate pain and skin integrity, while others focused on actual processes, like improving throughput in the ED. Some students have written about developing a system to increase access to and utilization of a patient portal, establishing an electronic appointment reminder system, and creating a new electronic interface to alert a nurse of critical lab values related to the need for positive contact precautions. It doesn’t matter if your project is about a process that is not actually feasible in your organization for budgetary reasons or because you are working in a paper environment.  As nurses you are in the best position to know what you require to provide evidence based, safe patient care. 

When assessing the environment, be sure to specifically differentiate between those factors that are internal versus those that are external. Examples of the internal environment would include staff attitudes, e.g., receptivity to change, or policies or procedures (especially if they are problematic). Examples of the external environment would include regulatory requirements, hospital decision-makers, and EHR vendors.  Again, the key is to determine which factors will substantively affect the outcome of your process change.

When describing options for improvement, make sure they are actually different. Depending on your topic, sometimes the two options are either a full implementation or a partial implementation. Make sure to discuss the potential cost and benefits for each of the options. Keep in mind that costs can include not only dollar amounts but time and staff, i.e., human resources.

It’s always important to substantively address all of the criteria in any rubric.  When you describe the methodology for evaluating the success of your initiative, remember that your metrics must be specific.  For example, it is not sufficient to say that nurse or patient satisfaction will increase without providing detail as to how satisfaction will be measured. Also, the evaluation strategies used to determine the success of your improvement initiative must be directly related to your objectives. For example, if an objective is to improve nurse satisfaction, then you would not include improved patient satisfaction as an indicator of success. The length of the paper should not exceed 7 pages, excluding the title and reference pages. Please be sure to include an introduction (but don’t label it as an introduction) and concluding (which you will label as a conclusion) paragraph.  While you are required to include references, you will be the judge of how many you need for an effective, compelling paper. You should use the rubric criteria as separate headings in your paper.  Name your word file using the required naming convention for assignments and as always, remember APA rules.

Please review the resources and let me know if you have any questions.  Also please note that because the exemplar paper is about handoff communication, this cannot be used as a topic this session.


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