COVID-Inspired Innovation

COVID-19 has presented a host of challenges, often suspending important initiatives due to social distancing requirements. Normally conducted via at-the-elbow sessions, optimized use of clinical workflows at PennState Health was one such initiative interrupted. However, not to be deterred from their optimization objective, PennState Health’s IS team found an innovative approach to continue optimization despite COVID-19. Read below to learn of the innovative approach they employed.

COVID-19 has caused an upheaval in the lives of almost everyone. Yet the upheaval also has created opportunity for innovation.

PennState Health (PSH) is an academic health system located in central Pennsylvania. PSH operates an information system ecosystem anchored by Cerner’s Millennium platform relabeled as CareConnect. PSH Information Services (IS) works diligently to enhance providers’ experience with CareConnect by optimizing its configuration and use, dedicating the Technology Education Team to that purpose.

Most recently, the Team focused on facilitating physician documentation through the sharing of standardized text created by individual physicians. Normally time consuming, the Team found the ability to streamline the process through the use of Cerner’s AutoText feature. The Team designed an AutoText information message it planned to share during weekly optimization rounding with physicians.

Then COVID-19 hit!

Social distancing disrupted the ability to conduct optimization rounding with physicians, prohibiting the Team’s ability to deploy the AutoText approach. Not to be denied, the Team sought ways to introduce the optimization absent rounding with physicians. They considered using info-cards, postcards with information about new optimization techniques. However, info-cards have had limited penetration, often just collecting dust on physicians’ desks. The Team next considered info-mails, emails with similar optimization information. But, the Team recognized, with email boxes already overloaded, these too were likely to be overlooked.

The Team then got creative – why not use a technique that is common practice in getting peoples’ attention – an infomercial?

Working with the Team, Courtney Semmel, a Technology Educator Lead, designed and produced, including all of the voice-over, a catchy AutoText informercial:

The AutoText informercial has now been rolled out at PSH. “The informercial appears to be gaining traction with providers” says Justin Hennaut, Technology Educator Team Lead. “We are anxious to review the initial usage analytics to see the impact it is having.”

Amanda Klopp, Director of Clinical Information Systems, noted “It’s important that our optimization efforts continue, regardless of obstacles such as COVID-19.” Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Cletis Earle, complimented the Team’s efforts stating “When challenges like COVID-19 occur, we need to identify creative solutions such as this infomercial. Kudos to the Technology Education Team for their ingenuity.”