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Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 11/8/21

November 8, 2021 Dr. Jayne 1 Comment

The highlight of my weekend was attending a graduation party for one of my favorite former co-workers. I worked with her in the urgent care trenches for half a decade, through Flumageddon, COVID-19, the deaths of three co-workers, and a host of other calamities.

Of all the people I’ve worked with clinically, she’s one of the handful I would walk through fire for. Three years ago, she decided to go to nursing school and completed her bachelor of science in nursing degree while continuing to work part time. She’s one of the hardest working people I know. I had the privilege of working my last urgent care shift with her, so I was glad she invited me to come celebrate her achievement.

It was a mini reunion of former colleagues, 80% of whom have left our former urgent care employer. It seems like everyone is thriving since they left. Since I was kind of the “mom” of the practice sometimes, hearing their stories brought me joy. Several are in graduate school and others have moved to other healthcare settings, but all of them are still involved helping patients.

It was also fun meeting the graduate’s parents and brothers, and now I understand where she gets her sassiness. Sometimes we don’t get to see people bring their dreams to life, but I’m excited for her in her new role as a nurse in the emergency department of the city’s premier Level One trauma facility. Hopefully we’ll be able to catch up again down the road. It will be interesting to hear stories from a new graduate’s point of view.

The rest of the weekend was spent playing catchup – working on some personal projects and catching up on work I needed to finish after being out for a training class most of the week. For one of my new projects, I need to have a particular EHR certification that I’ve never done before, and it was quite the adventure. Since most vendors are still offering remote training, I decided to take advantage of that option. Not that I mind traveling, but it’s always better to be able to sleep in your own bed. I was pleased that the training had been adapted to remote learners, including having multiple trainers available to cover real-time questions while the main presenter continued presenting the content. That let people catch up while the rest of the class moved ahead. As someone who has taken countless in-person classes, I enjoyed that approach much better than when a single class member holds everyone up with questions since it’s much harder to hand someone off to a co-trainer in a live environment.

Of course, there were some technical glitches for attendees, with people intermittently losing audio or having glitchy video, but that’s to be expected even at this point where most of us have adapted to nearly 100% remote work and virtual meetings. There were also some people with multiple monitors who were having issues with popups they couldn’t see because they would open on a different monitor, and that seemed to be a little trickier for the remote training team to try to troubleshoot. Overall, I thought they did a nice job with plenty of breaks for people stretch and just get away from their desks, and also a full hour for lunch which I haven’t had before even in an in-person class. It was nice to be able to grab something to eat, check email, and walk around a little bit before settling in for another half day of classes.

Fortunately, I’ve worked with this part of the EHR before,so while I’ve never been certified, so the content wasn’t overwhelming. I imagine that if you were new to EHRs in general, such as an IT person who hadn’t done much clinical work but was diving in, the pace might have been a bit brisk. There are plenty of new terms to learn in healthcare (particularly in the wild and wacky world of US healthcare) so the learning curve on those items would have been steep. Most of the attendees were able to get through some clinical workflows though and had a good understanding of how their end users will be using the system. It’s always a good thing when clinical people can see what IT folks have to work with, and vice versa, in order to have a high functioning team.

I’m taking another class this week and it’s a much deeper dive into the underpinnings of the EHR, which I’m very excited about. I never met a database table I didn’t like and am looking forwarding to learning things I may not have known about the underlying structure. As a CMIO, I’m often at the 10,000-foot level, but it’s always good to understand the complexities of the system when I’m asking my team to consider using new features or attempting to customize around a native workflow. I’ve got a topnotch team of seasoned veterans, so I’m not worried about their skills, although I’ve had people working for me on previous engagements who tried to snow me on how hard it would be to do customizations or to modify workflows. I remember one upgrade when my team was acting like they’d have to do hundreds of hours of work to make changes to provider workflow templates, and when we did a work breakdown and estimation exercise, it turned out to be less than one person-week of work.

I also spent some time doing my quarterly Maintenance of Certification questions for both my primary and secondary board certifications. They use completely different methodologies and delivery systems for their questions, and I’m wondering why the different boards can’t get together and come up with a best-of-the-breed solution. One board allows five minutes per question, and you have to do 25 questions per quarter, where the other allows 10 minutes per question with 12 questions per quarter. Fortunately, they’re both open-book and open-internet, with the main limitation being that you can’t engage other people to help you or share the questions with others. I’m not close enough to retirement to consider dropping either certification, so I get to stay on the certification hamster wheel for many years to come.

Did you have a productive weekend, or were you just able to enjoy some down time? Leave a comment or email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

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Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. “I never met a database table I didn’t like…”

    This brought such joy to me. I also love database tables and while my job rarely lets me get into that type of work I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the database.

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