Dr. Yeaman Overcomes EHR Implementation Challenges at Norman Regional Health System
Dr. Brian Yeaman is a board-certified family physician and the Chief Medical Informatics Officer at Norman Regional Health System in Norman, Oklahoma. At Norman Regional, Dr. Yeaman works with 150 providers serving patients in south central Oklahoma. Dr. Yeaman led an effort to improve Norman Regional’s electronic health record (EHR) data quality, which is helping the health system improve care coordination and patient outcomes.
Capturing Structured Data: An EHR Implementation Challenge
When Norman Regional first adopted an EHR, Dr. Yeaman and his colleagues found that the electronic patient records were often incomplete or varied in terms of data quality. Providers were often unable to aggregate critical patient information because data were not captured in a consistent, structured format. “We were not capturing data in a standard format,” Dr. Yeaman said, “and this was a challenging issue for the health system and its affiliated clinics.” Without complete information on each of its patients, Norman Regional found care coordination challenging.
Training and Oversight Help Norman Regional Capture Structured Data
To overcome the challenge of capturing structured data, Norman Regional implemented a multi-faceted continuous improvement strategy. In order to continually improve data collection, Norman Regional produces monthly progress reports. Norman Regional’s clinical quality committee examines the reports and makes recommendations as to how the health system can alter its training and education methods to improve data collection and quality of care. The committee next presents recommendations to a board of health system physicians and administrators so the board can provide additional feedback and institute system-wide changes. Once changes are instituted by the board, Dr. Yeaman and his colleagues use a continuous “learning cycle model” to train medical staff. No matter the specific training topic, Dr. Yeaman and his colleagues emphasize careful and consistent data capture.
Better Care Coordination and Improved Patient Outcomes
As a result of Norman Regional’s training and improvement strategies, Norman Regional is continually improving the quality of its EHR data. “Overall, data reliability has increased,” Dr. Yeaman explained. With better and more complete EHR data, physicians and staff at Norman Regional spend less time manually updating incomplete patient information and more time focused on providing quality health care and improving patient outcomes.
Looking to the Future
Now that Dr. Yeaman and his colleagues have improved the quality of data reporting within the health system, Norman Regional is interested in strengthening its health information exchange capabilities. Dr. Yeaman recognizes the need for care coordination on a regional level and hopes to increase data exchange in the greater Oklahoma City area.