2018-11-20

When does Clinical System Design stop?

The enthusiasm, energy and productivity of Area Councils (AC) and Specialty Workgroups (SWG) continues to amaze us. Alberta Health Services (AHS) witnesses extraordinary collaboration, reduction of unhelpful variation and informational integration. Indeed, more important than any clinical information system (CIS) configuration may be the principles, relationships, and processes learned through clinical system design (CSD). Growing new ways of designing and optimizing clinical content (documentation, decision and inquiry supports) helps AHS mature as a learning healthcare organization.

ACs and SWGs understand that essential specialty CSD should wrap up as 2018 comes to a close, leaving January 2019 for unfinished or deferred issues. All specialty CSD decisions need to be recorded by a hard deadline of February 8, 2019. This milestone is critical to readying the CIS for testing and training.

So, if specialty CSD must deliver by February 8, 2019 and the value of specialty CSD is as an enduring process, then what becomes of CSD once testing and training start? The short answer is that CSD continues indefinitely. It must. There is no other way to ensure that the CIS grows with AHS, both helping AHS to learn and optimizing what works best.

Appreciating that CSD is a core Connect Care activity, today’s time-boxed work just gets us to a starting line. It allows a basic CIS to be built; enough to illustrate the value of CSD and to teach skills for meaningful use.

The really valuable CSD work begins once the CIS is deployed. Accordingly, we have begun planning systematic processes for tackling all the “parking lot” issues left over from CSD build; and anticipating all the new needs arising post-launch. The appetite for new uses of CSD tools will be great, priorities must be set and design capacity must continue to grow.

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