Critical consults demand attentive handling. Few consult orders are more critical than those for psychiatric evaluation of emotionally disturbed individuals (often termed Baker Act patients). By policy, these patients must be evaluated by a psychiatrist within 24 hours – no exceptions.
This case study illustrates the problem that was faced by the hospital (in Pinellas County, FL), the hospital staff, and the doctors. It describes how Answer Excellence’s Consult ManagerTM solved the problem and improved their workflow.
Several issues existed:
- Hospital staff had to directly phone orders to specific physicians rather than having a process based on the hospital computer system
- Treatment delays due to orders written for incorrect doctor (e.g. doctor on vacation)
- Lack of guaranteed-delivery protocol for messages
- No accurate completion time tracking or performance metrics
- Plain text messages containing PHI were not HIPAA-compliant.
The team was outfitted with smartphones on which they used Consult Manager’s mobile interface. It addressed the problems as follows:
- Enter-and-forget convenience for hospital staff, process managed without their ongoing involvement thanks to HL7 interface.
- Doctors acknowledge new orders, with phone calls helping deliver unacknowledged orders.
- Patient visits are logged in Consult Manager and elapsed time is measured.
- Management reports provide order completion metrics, at both the group level and for individual physicians.
- Plain text messaging replaced with secure mobile interface.
Consult ManagerTM yielded an improvement on all points:
- Orders to not-on-call doctors are escalated and redirected to an available doctor before significant delay is incurred.
- Department heads are able to centrally monitor team performance and incorporate metrics into the review process.
- On-time order completion rates were significantly improved.
- Information is exchanged securely in a HIPAA-compliant manner.
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