Helping WakeMed Bypass EHR Bottlenecks to Enable Faster Consults

No automated process to ensure delivery of messages or alert physicians via EHR

In the past, WakeMed physicians would write orders through the hospital’s EHR system, requesting a specialist consult. Unfortunately, the EHR system didn’t provide an automated process to ensure the delivery of that request directly to the consulting physician, or to alert that physician about a consult.

With no automated process in place, a variety of methods were used to bridge that communication gap. Some ordering physicians relied on unit secretaries to monitor consult orders and notify or remind consulting providers via phone call, page, emails or in-basket. Many of these communication methods resulted in the delivery of abbreviated or confusing messages with limited or unsecure patient information.

In some cases, the consulting physician would not see the consult orders until they checked their EHR system patient list, which could be hours or even a day later. In other cases, the orders may go to the wrong provider altogether due to the EHR’s inability to automatically route messages based on the day and time of message, provider availability, call schedules, workflows and more. Ordering physicians were forced to choose from hundreds of names within the EHR, without knowing if the consulting physician was on vacation, if another member of the care team should be receiving the consult, etc.

This inefficient process often led to confusion and frustration for everyone involved in the consult process, and delays that resulted in unnecessary costs for both the patient and hospital.

PH Connect integration with EHR and Intelligent Consult Notification (ICN) functionality

Enabling Automated Message Delivery- WakeMed worked with Proficient Health to leverage PH Connect’s integration with the EHR and Intelligent Consult Notification (ICN) functionality to automate message routing, enable real-time notification and optimize care continuity.

PH Connect uniquely and intelligently routes messages based on six different factors, including clinical service resource availability (residents, PAs, etc.) and consulting physician workflow and preferences, ensuring that the consult is automatically delivered to the right person – the first time. The consult delivery even allows for preferences of the services that would not typically be notified at night but would expect notification of new consults at the beginning of morning shifts.

PH Connect supports preferred workflows for not only the consulting provider, but also for the ordering physician. The ordering physician doesn’t have to open PH Connect at all. They simply log into the EHR and request the consult as they normally would. They receive a notification that the message has been sent and can expect a quicker response from the consulting physician.

Thousands of consults are being sent through PH Connect with read and response times as quick as two to three minutes

Improving Patient Care at WakeMed- This relatively simple approach to consult orders has dramatically improved time to consult and improved ALOS across the facility. Services benefitting from the PH Connect integration and ICN include Cardiology, Ortho, Pulmonary, Psych, Pediatric Endocrinology, Pediatric Surgery, Pediatric Hospitalist, Pediatric Intensivist, Pediatric Cardiology, Pediatric Urology and Pediatric Gastroenterology. The hospital plans to roll the feature out to all services.

“PH Connect allows providers real time access to each other without prior knowledge of call schedules; enables them to share patient-specific information securely, unlike conventional texting; and provides read receipts to communicate that messages have been received,” explained Ted Tsomides, MD, WakeMed Health and Hospitals.