for the recordI don't make or keep friends writing about these things, but until I'm done with this, I'm going to keep at it.  I believe there is a better way and that we are so missing the boat on a way to improve the technology we are now working with, as opposed to fighting it.

What I am advocating to The Joint Commission is that they include non-clinical departments in their quality standards that would teach those non-clinical professionals how to manage the "quality and appropriateness of services rendered."  I quote that because that is the verbiage used in TJC standards for the clinical disciplines.  To follow that would be a nationwide effort of teaching the details of how to manage the quality of documentation processes with objective data (not clinical documentation).

While I find the article interesting, the effort still smacks to me about HIM professionals attempting to prove points about particular technologies that they don't feel work well, often at the defense of the traditional medical transcription processes, still proving we are worthy.  We ARE worthy, but the game out there has changed.  A lot.  These technologies are valuable in some situations, maybe not in others, but singular one-time studies only reflect just that; singular one-time, isolated experiences in that hospital with those doctors at that time with their technology, budget, staff, interfacing with other technologies, etc.  Speech recognition in another emergency department might work well.  We would have to compare all the variables.  It's those details and variables that I want us to get down to....on an ongoing basis.  Just like the laboratory manages the accuracy of their blood-counting technology, whatever it is called.  They do it all the time and forever.  It's part of their day-to-day operation, how to assure the quality of that data.

The focus must turn to, given the technology a hospital/clinic has chosen, how do we manage the quality of that?  How do we find and fix errors?  Determining that doctors make errors isn't new news.  Humans do that; doctors are no different.  What is the point in pointing that out?  How do we assure, to the degree possible, that we are managing the quality of that documentation?  Finding the errors, fixing the errors, evaluating the system and the process, not so much the human being that entered the data via click and point, speaking, handwriting, lack of knowledge, typographical error, and all the many ways documentation gets done.  Who is managing the medical documentation processes and technology on an ongoing basis?

We don't need to continue advocating that MTs are somehow better at documenting than doctors; we're all humans.  What we need are ongoing processes that manage the quality of all things documentation.  All things.  Doctor input, nurse input, therapists' input, transcriptionist translation, systems integrity and quality, the entire gamut.

The funny thing is, even The Joint Commission keeps asking for data.  Data for what?  To prove humans make errors?  Who cares? They do!  How do we find and fix them?  That is the work to be done.  Let's embrace ALL the processes and learn how to make them more accurate.

Read the article, "Is Speech Recognition Viable in the ED?" here.