When providers are focusing on a patient at a Point of Care along an EMR patient carepath, it’s disruptive to have to go to some other environment to dispatch an inquiry. The usual outcome is the provider uses experience and judgment and moves forward.
Clearly, a 2nd opinion can impact outcomes positively so it seems reasonable that making collaborative consultations easier can improve outcomes and possibly save lives.
I am attending to the needs of a patient, I have a question and its 15:45 hrs and I am about to go off shift. No point sending a message to a supervisor, peer or domain expert if the response time is not going to be immediate. Typically, the response will not be immediate and the facts are any response that does comes back after 16:00 hrs will, in the normal course of events, insert a 16-hour imposed delay along the patient care pathway.
One possible solution is to have responses to inquiries go to whoever takes over on the night shift but that does not work very well in a busy service center – the provider may not know who is on the night shift. Even if there is a staff listing by shift, with auto-resource allocation software there is no telling who out of, say, three providers will be taking over this patient.
A better way is to dispatch inquiries from the Point of Care and have responses come back to the Point of Care. This ensures continuity of care because auto-resource allocation software automatically takes care of patient hand offs across shifts and prevents things from falling between the cracks. Anyone picking up a patient task, sees the outgoing inquiry and can make a decision re whether to wait for a response, send out another, or move forward (i.e. the fact that one provider had a question does not mean his/her replacement may have a question/need an answer).
Then, as and when the patient task is completed, the EMR has a copy of the task details, any outgoing inquiries and any incoming responses.