Last spring, Compass Medical got the invitation to be part of the beta testing for KLAS’ Arch Collaborative, an effort to improve EHR usability and satisfaction. The timing was perfect. We had just finished a two-year implementation of our new EHR platform.
We had been hoping to create a scientific approach to not only implementing and managing our technology, but also creating a culture of continuous improvement. The Arch Collaborative appeared to be exactly what we’d been looking for, so we jumped on board.
Pinpointing Our Struggles
I was anxious to learn how our providers felt about our new EHR and everything we had done to implement it. In connection with the Collaborative, Compass Medical surveyed all of our clinicians, including our nurses.
The results surprised me. On one hand, our leadership team was one of the Collaborative’s top rated in terms of implementing and optimizing the EHR. We were flattered to hear that our providers trusted us so much and approved of the approach we’d taken.
On the other hand, our providers were far from happy with the EHR itself. Their satisfaction scores were below average in the Collaborative, and we received many wince-worthy comments about the EHR.
I was particularly interested to hear about the providers’ frustrations with our human scribes and legacy speech recognition system.
Some providers had started with high expectations. They were disappointed that they needed speech recognition software in the first place—that the EHR wasn’t doing everything that they’d assumed it would be able to do.
Other providers expressed that the software and scribes were simply failing to enhance the provider experience. The Compass Medical leadership had been aware of a few technical issues with our speech recognition system, but we hadn’t realized what a drag it was on our providers’ work.
Because the Arch Collaborative data had included such specific feedback, we knew where we needed to make some changes. We decided to replace our legacy speech recognition system with an up-to-date model from a different vendor. But we knew that wouldn’t be enough. We needed more than just a new system—we needed a new approach.
Using the Arch Collaborative data as a jumping-off point, we crafted the implementation of our new system differently than we ever had before. We started by doing a pilot of the new tool. It included early-acceptance testing with only a few providers and emphasized creating personal incentive to engage the providers.
We didn’t want to force the technology down their throats like many leaders do in implementations; we wanted our providers to look forward to the software change.
We also focused on training, training, and training. Compass Medical’s culture had always included a basis of extensive training and communication, and the collective Arch Collaborative data had convinced us that training was just as crucial as we had always assumed. So we communicated and trained until we’d actually annoyed our providers.
Only at that point were we satisfied that they truly understood the system and would be able to walk into the final implementation with confidence.
In September, Compass Medical finally completed the implementation of our new speech recognition tool. There were a few surprises, but no hiccups. We got 60 of our 100 providers live in a single week.
Because we actively deployed the tool and trained the providers all at the same time, the implementation was extremely intensive. However, our approach made it a positive experience overall.
Throughout this transition to a 2018 experience with voice recognition, the Compass Medical leaders have kept our ears to the ground. So far, the feedback is encouraging.
Our providers say that our new system is not only faster, better, and more accurate than our previous tool, but also more intuitive to learn.
Our plan is to continue measuring our providers’ feelings about and success with our EHR. Hopefully, we will learn next year that our providers who are using the new speech recognition platform have become highly satisfied—not only with the technology, but also with their involvement in enhancing the EHR experience.
I’m grateful that we decided to use the Arch Collaborative as one piece of our improvement strategy. We learned what was working for us and where change was needed most.
Our previous efforts to encourage a training-focused culture were validated, and we were able to use our strengths to eliminate one of our most serious weaknesses. We look forward to learning and sharing even more knowledge and success with other Arch Collaborative providers who are ready to make healthcare better.