Physician, Heal Thy Process

By Bob Larrivee posted 06-23-2010 16:19


There is no secret about the reason for the healthcare sector to increase focus on content, records and process management. Mandates from the Obama Administration and Health and Human Services (HHS) have changed the landscape for information practices and now healthcare providers and all of those associated with healthcare must comply. There are guidelines being set but not all agree it addresses the full spectrum or definition of what constitutes a patient record. Some contend it is diagnostics, medical digital images and other information related to the physical care of a patient while others will argue it goes well beyond that and includes information addressing insurance and financial coverage and more.

This is a discussion I have had many times in class and is part of a discussion I will be part of on a Keynote panel at the upcoming World Congress Summit on Process Improvement and Business Excellence in Healthcare to be held in Chicago this July. No matter which camp you are in, there is still a need to assess your current situation, assess this against the guidelines for compliance, plan your future state and implement with a continuous improvement initiative for post implementation. In addition, there are strategic aspects of the program that need to address policy or governance over the information and processes as well as security with security now become a spotlight issue unto itself. (At the time of this post, the count is now at 99 facilities cited on the HHS webpage for breach notification affecting more than 500 people.)

In my view, this is an issue that faces the healthcare industry but also each and every business in every other industry. The move to a more digitally centric business world is gaining momentum and this in turn increases the need to improve and better manage not only our content and records but our processes and security measures as well. Technology alone will not provide the sole solution. You have to consider the whole organization and look at it from the perspective of establishing a strong information management environment that includes process, security and people. You need good policies and governance that leverage best practices and enlist continuous improvement methodologies to ensure you meet and maintain a compliant and competitive position; if you are unsure of how or where to begin, seek professional guidance and training to help you get moving in the right directions.

What say you? Do you have a story to tell? What are your thoughts on this topic? What is on your mind? Do you have a topic of interest you would like discussed in this forum? Let me know.

Email: Bob Larrivee, Director and Industry Advisor - AIIM

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