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Discussion: Workflow Redesign

Discussion: Workflow Redesign

Discussion: Workflow Redesign


Conversely, including only process owners who do not possess the authority to make decisions can slow down the work of the team while decisions are made outside the group sessions.

Team focus needs to be addressed at the outset of the team’s assembly. Early on, the team should decide which workflow will be examined to avoid confusion or spending time unnecessarily on workflow that does not ultimately matter to the outcome. In the early stages of workflow redesign, the team should define the beginning and end of a process and a few high-level steps of the process. Avoid focusing on process steps in great detail in the beginning, as the conversation can get sidetracked or team members may get bogged down by focusing on details and not move along at a good pace. Six Sigma expert George Eckes uses the phrase “Stay as high as you can as long as you can”—a good catch phrase to remember to keep the team focused and at a high level. The pace at which any implementation team progresses ultimately affects the overall timeline of a project; therefore, focus and speed are skills that the informatics expert should develop and use throughout every initiative, but particularly when addressing workflow redesign.

The workflow redesign team will develop a detailed process map after agreement is reached on the current-state process’s beginning and end points, and a high-level map depicting the major process steps is finalized. Because workflow crosses many different care providers, it may be useful to construct the process map using a swim-lane technique ( Figure 13-2 ). A swim-lane technique uses categories such as functional workgroups and roles to visually depict groups of work and to indicate who performs the work. The resulting map shows how workflow and data transition to clinicians and can demonstrate areas of potential process and information breakdowns.

Figure 13-2 Example of the Swim Lane Technique

Courtesy of Greencastle Associates Consulting and Atlantic Health. Reprinted by permission.