Clinician Harnesses Technology to Improve Care and Increase Efficiency
Some of the best health care delivery improvements are identified by the people doing the work. That’s the thinking behind UnitedHealth Group’s Clinician Leader Executive program, which provides clinicians the space to identify and harness innovations and expand their executive mindsets. As participants, clinicians launch novel ideas that drive change across the enterprise while improving care and outcomes for patients.
While participating in the Clinician Leader Executive program, Nimita Varga, clinical services manager, Optum Hospice Pharmacy Services, discovered a way to potentially improve care and increase efficiency by harnessing technology to alert clinicians to patients’ lab results and status changes in real time. Varga’s project involved eliminating operational, bypass-related inefficiencies. “Bypass is when a patient’s plan of care is changed without the clinician’s knowledge,” says Varga.
To solve the issue, Varga proposed adding real-time push notifications of critical lab results, diagnostics and vital signs to Optum clinicians’ mobile devices so they’re immediately informed — whether or not they’re in the facility or logged into patients’ medical records.
“When Optum clinicians are notified of patients’ changes in status, they can work patients’ plans of care without being bypassed,” Varga said. This allows clinicians to intervene in their patients’ care immediately, thereby preventing expensive decisions from being made without their knowledge, such as hospitalizations, transfers, unnecessary lab tests and medications their patients don’t need.
“The same app that provides push notifications can also be used to securely chat with patients or other health care providers for increased coordination of care,” Varga said.
The Bottom Line
Varga is currently preparing to test the proposal in a 90-day pilot with Optum, and if it’s successful, the project could eliminate barriers to delivering higher-quality care to patients at lower costs.
The Clinician Leader Executive program is one of the many personal and professional development resources that UnitedHealth Group’s Center for Clinician Advancement makes available to clinicians as it works to build a modern, high-performing health system.
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