If you got it….use it! Working smarter, not harder on improving quality outcomes

March 6, 2017 / By Cheryl Manchenton, RN

I have found that the best topics for my blog are those that I care most passionately about (see “Collaborating with Kindness” as an example). As I thought about this month’s blog, the same topic kept poking at me and from there my musical connection flowed. This month’s song reference is from the musical The Producers, with the original lyrics “If you got it, flaunt it…” 

For many of us working in large hospitals and health systems (or sometimes even in small ones) we tend to work in silos, often doing similar work, but viewing it with a different lens. And of course we need to keep track of our work efforts and be able to report out the result of that effort.  That can lead to numerous files and folders and excel spreadsheets and software programs that we each individually keep and then try and share. The result of all of that information being segregated is strings and strings of emails and endless meetings.  Another by-product of this siloed work effort is the sense of isolation and not being “on the same page” as our peers. 

So what do we “got” that we aren’t “flaunting”? Our clinical documentation improvement software of course!  Now whether you use a 3M CDI tool, another vendor’s tool or work through an EMR program, the point is, many of you have a tool that everyone can potentially or actually access in a flow that can be viewed by all, thus reducing siloed work and isolation.  So why aren’t we using these tools to full capacity? I commonly ask my clients why they purchase a “sports car” CDI or EMR tool and only drive it in “first gear”?  I will share a few theories and/or reasons I have found:

  • Same-old-itis: This is the tool I have used forever and it works just fine, thank you! Forward thinkers should always ensure that what they are using is “best.”
  • My tool is best: I don’t know what “the others” are using, but what I need I can only get in my tool. How do you know if you haven’t looked thoroughly at the tools others are using or the tool you are using, but in different ways?
  • Relevance: If everyone can do what I do or see what I can see then no one will need me to do my job (keeping my intellectual property tightly to my vest and ensuring I have a role in the organization). There is plenty of work to do in improving quality outcomes so I would not be concerned about not being needed.
  • Ignorance (not stupidity): Many are unaware of the capabilities of the various tools (and the limitations of different tools). Dive deep and see what the tools are capable of and ask tons of questions.
  • Bigger-better syndrome: There is always another tool out there that promises to do more/be more so instead of fully using what I have (see ignorance above), I move onto the next big thing. Ensure what you have is working properly and to full capacity before you abandon that tool.

To improve quality outcomes we need to investigate the existing tools and programs we have and figure out how to best leverage our technology to work smarter (not harder), avoid duplication, and reduce unneeded emails and meetings.

Again, when it comes to tools—if you’ve got it…use it!

Cheryl Manchenton is a senior inpatient consultant and project manager for 3M Health Information Systems.

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