In the restaurant sector, for example, employees may not be particularly diligent about exactly following the processes for regularly recording the temperature of certain ingredients that go into their menu items, for instance. That can be a problem when it’s time for a health inspection.
And in the healthcare sector, nurses tend to be more focused on caring for the patient than they are in the minutiae of documentation and Data Governance – especially when care hasn’t been taken to make it easy and quick to appropriately record that information.
That matters because documentation is how healthcare providers get paid and how successful they appear in the eyes of their potential patients. “It’s how things get reported out, how a facility looks compared to other hospitals on Hospital Compare or other patient safety organizations that report outcomes based on data submitted, [data] that might not get captured or isn’t captured correctly,” according to Krista Joy Casey, business advisor, McKesson/Relay Health Intelligence.
Patient care should be nurses’ priority, “but they need to understand what their impact is on everything else.” If a newborn’s weight is quickly jotted down in pounds, rather than the official reporting standard of grams, for instance, that hospital is going to stand out for the number of 413 pound babies born there!
In her past work at Lehigh Valley Health Network, where her roles included working with nurses on clinical quality improvement, Casey saw the disconnect that existed between nursing and departments like IT that sometimes contributed to the Data Governance and documentation dilemma. Healthcare professionals, she told an audience at the Enterprise
It’s understandable, given that they’re dealing with multiple patients and often urgent situations. So, if they perceive that something can be done in four steps but they’re being asked to do it in nine, that’s not going to fly.
If IT changed a documentation procedure so that it had the effect of multiplying or repeating data entry steps, it could lead to nurses finding ways to work around it. Without interaction across division lines, neither party would realize the impact that their actions ultimately could have on Data Analytics. And, when nurses feel overloaded simply by the amount of data they’re being asked to record because there’s a mismatch in the alignment between metric reporting, real quality improvement, and revenue, the chances that they’ll make incorrect entries that can lead to faulty analysis only grow.
Time for a Tune Up
While the mantra used to be “not documented, not done,” today it’s “document things in the right way, in the right place” so that it can be appropriately measured and correctly analyzed, she noted.
But how can those leading up Information Governance efforts make that happen given issues like the ones described above? In many respects it’s about understanding the nursing culture and the organization’s real requirements to assure that it doesn’t get dinged on payments or ranked lower than it should be in terms of patient metrics.
Here are some ideas she provided to help move healthcare facilities in the right direction when it comes to the linkage between Data Governance and healthcare Analytics:
Spread the word to everyone in the hospital, nurses included, that if they’re recording information, they’re a Data Steward.
And good documentation of the good patient care they are providing is part of the role of being a Data Steward.