Consider a clinical process or task that you perform on a frequent basis. Do you do it the same every time? Why do you proceed the way you do? Habit? Protocol? Each day nurses complete certain tasks that are considered routine, but have you ever stopped to reflect on why things are done the way they are? Perhaps you have noticed areas where there is a duplication of efforts or an inefficient use of time. Other tasks might pass seamlessly from person to person. In order to design the most efficient flow of work through an organization, it is useful to understand workflow and the ways it can be structured for the most optimal use of time and resources.
Creating a Flowchart
Workflow analysis aims to determine workflow patterns that maximize the effective use of resources and minimize activities that do not add value. There are a variety of tools that can be used to analyze the workflow of processes and clarify potential avenues for eliminating waste. Flowcharts are a basic and commonly used workflow analysis method that can help highlight areas in need of streamlining.
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In this Assignment, you select a common event that occurs regularly in your organization and create a flowchart representing the workflow. You analyze the process you have diagrammed and propose changes for improvement.
· Identify a common, simple event that frequently occurs in your organization that you would like to evaluate.
· Consider how you would design a flowchart to represent the current workflow.
· Consider what metrics you would use to determine the effectiveness of the current workflow and identify areas of waste.
Write a 3- to 5-page paper which includes the following:
· Create a simple flowchart of the activity you selected. (Review the Sample Workflow of Answering a Telephone in an Office document found in this week’s Learning Resources for an example.)
· Next, in your paper:
o Explain the process you have diagrammed.
o For each step or decision point in the process, identify the following:
§ Who does this step? (It can be several people.)
§ What technology is used?
§ What policies and rules are involved in determining how, when, why, or where the step is executed?
§ What information is needed for the execution of this step?
o Describe the metric that is currently used to measure the soundness of the workflow. Is it effective?
o Describe any areas where improvements could occur and propose changes that could bring about these improvements in the workflow.
o Summarize why it is important to be aware of the flow of an activity.
McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2015). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.
- Chapter 14, “Nursing Informatics: Improving Workflow and Meaningful Use”
This chapter reviews the reasons for conducting workflow analysis and design. The author explains specific workflow analysis and redesign techniques.
Huser, V., Rasmussen, L. V., Oberg, R., & Starren, J. B. (2011). Implementation of workflow engine technology to deliver basic clinical decision support functionality. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 11(1), 43–61.
In this article, the authors describe an implementation of workflow engine technology to support clinical decision making. The article describes some of the pitfalls of implementation, along with successful and future elements.
Koppel, R., & Kreda, D. A. (2010). Healthcare IT usability and suitability for clinical needs: Challenges of design, workflow, and contractual relations. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, 157, 7–14.
This article points to many health information technology designs and workflow decisions that limit their value and usage. The authors also examine the structure of the conceptual relationships between HIT vendors and the clinical facilities that purchase HIT.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (n.d.b). Workflow assessment for health IT toolkit. Retrieved, June 18, 2012, from http://healthit.ahrq.gov/portal/server.pt/community/health_it_tools_and_resources/919/workflow_assessment_for_health_it_toolkit/27865
This article supplies a toolkit on the planning, design, implementation, and use of health information technology. The sections of the website provide a definition of workflow, examples of workflow tools, related anecdotes, and research.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2012f). System design and workflow. Baltimore, MD: Author.
This video provides an overview of how workflow modeling can be used in a health care setting to target areas for revising current practices and procedures. The video also shows how technology and informatics can be used to improve workflow efficiency and increase the quality of care.