EHR Transformation

The Electronic Health Record (EHR) Transformation team provides essential support to clinicians, enabling them to focus on providing patient-centered, evidence-based care. The team of staff, clinicians, and operations experts offers personalized attention, analyzing data on how a clinician uses PennChart (the Penn Medicine EHR) and then working with them to offer individualized coaching about how to optimize workflows. For the EHR Transformation team, applied health informatics is about problem solving and answering the call when clinicians say “there has to be a better way to do this.” 

Branches of EHR Transformation

EHR Transformation is comprised of two branches: project management and the PennChart Advanced Clinical Education (PACE) team. In project management, staff works closely with physicians and operations personnel to analyze PennChart data, advise about new workflows, and collaborate on a range of departmental and health system projects with the aim of improving clinician wellness. 

The PACE team focuses on optimizing how individual clinicians use PennChart, as well as on educating them about updates to PennChart. As clinicians, the nurses, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, and others on the PACE team bring firsthand knowledge of clinical workflows to their roles and understand the complex demands on clinicians using EHRs. In turn, they apply that experience to improve how health care providers use PennChart. 

Data Stewardship and EHR Collaborations

Among other accomplishments, the EHR Transformation team has done groundbreaking work on data stewardship. They recognize the value of information about how providers use PennChart: it allows them to identify trends in the data in order to offer tailored coaching for providers and make the system easier to use. At the same time, the EHR Transformation team recognizes the sensitive nature of some of this data that can reveal provider work habits and PennChart proficiency levels, for instance. 

To balance the value and risks associated with this provider data, EHR Transformation partnered with the office of the Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) to create guidelines for how this data can be provided to authorized users, while also being appropriately safeguarded. In the absence of national guidance on how best to navigate the provider data stewardship topic, Penn Medicine has become a pioneering leader on this important subject. 

In addition to data stewardship collaborations, the EHR Transformation team has partnered with other groups at Penn Medicine. The team worked closely with the Center for Health Care Innovation (CHCI) to create snapshot data views within PennChart. Clinicians had requested a way to aggregate a number of discrete data elements into a single view that was easy to digest and that could inform their diagnosis and decision-making with patients. The team has also collaborated with Information Services (IS) to roll out electronic consents in the ambulatory setting at Penn Medicine. 

EHR Transformation and the Center for Applied Health Informatics

As a member group of the Center for Applied Health Informatics, the EHR Transformation team is excited to collaborate on applied health informatics projects that address some of the major challenges facing the health system. One of the important projects the Center could consider in the future is using data to strengthen Penn Medicine’s community-based practices. Data about neighborhood diversity, community outreach, and evidence-based practice could inform where clinics are most needed and suggest adjustments in the approaches used by existing clinics. 

Through data-driven insights, deep knowledge of the EHR, and firm understandings of how clinical work is actually done, the Center for Applied Health Informatics is positioned to transform care delivery and tell the important story of the positive change that Penn Medicine is making in the community.