EHR tool decreases clinicians' phone calls by 60%: Yale exec shares insights

More automated transfers of electronic health information could bring "huge value" to healthcare providers in terms of saving clinicians' time, according to David Mulligan, MD, chief of transplant surgery and immunology at Yale New Haven (Conn.) Health.

Yale partnered with New England Donor Services, the northeastern U.S.' organ procurement organization, to develop an EHR tool to streamline the organ donation process. NEDS told Becker's it was looking for a partner with the time and interest to collaboratively determine the best technical methodology to transmit organ donation referrals electronically.

Yale and NEDS began conversations in 2018, with both parties recognizing the highly manual organ donation process could be made more efficient through electronic information transfer. It took 18 months to develop the solution. During that time, Yale and NEDS ensured the solution was nonproprietary and scalable. 

The tool automates organ donor referrals by sending a message with the information needed for the initial screening. The message is sent directly in the EHR, and a message is sent to the hospital to notify its care team whether the patient has potential to donate organs. The messages are sent using the ​​Health Level Seven International information exchange protocol, according to Dr. Mulligan. "Having more automated transference of information is a huge value," he said.

The pilot program began in four intensive care units in March 2020. Yale clinicians scaled the tool to more than 200 units across the system in six months.

Yale clinicians have seen a significant decrease in the length of the initial referral phone call to NEDS, dropping by more than 60 percent and saving clinicians about 1,300 hours of phone calls per year, according to data the organization shared with Becker's.

The tool is transferable to other hospitals and applicable to all EHRs, Dr. Mulligan said. Other health systems that have adopted the tool include Beth Israel Lahey Health and Cambridge Health Alliance, both based in Cambridge, Mass.

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