Counterintuitive Solutions

Optimum Healthcare IT's tech diagnoses may not always give users what they ask for, but always offer innovative ways to provide what they want and need

As CMIO of Optimum Healthcare IT, Sheryl Bushman’s expertise goes beyond technology to having a complete understanding of what users really want to accomplish.

This was the case when her client was integrating Epic EHRs into its technology portfolio. Such projects require extensive investments of time, effort, and funds, but Bushman knew from experience that users typically end up utilizing only about two percent of old data.

“Ultimately, no one cares about details like a four-year old complete blood count,” Bushman explains. “Plus, the old data is frequently inaccurate and has to be cleaned up. But it’s human nature to think that you need to be able to access every single piece of old information.”

To encourage the client to use a more efficient approach, she created a prototype that leveraged Epic’s data-sharing capability. With the click of a button, users can choose to import discrete archived items, like medications, immunizations, or allergies, into their new EHR. By showing how easy and cost-effective the process was, as well as its ability to significantly reduce errors and duplication, Bushman was able to overcome providers’ hesitation about skipping a full data migration.

Since then, the import capability has been extended to other clients. By generating queries, they can automatically bring in additional discrete patient information from all types of EHRs into the new database.

“The objective is to help providers offer the most effective and efficient care,” Bushman says. “But the best strategy can sometimes feel counterintuitive, so you have to fully understand the environment and its inherent challenges to make users feel comfortable enough to take advantage of a new and unfamiliar approach.”