The power of the 'stupid stuff' initiative

Research published in March 2022 found that U.S. physicians who use EHRs spend an average of 1.84 hours a day completing documentation outside work hours, and as hospitals and health systems look for ways to alleviate this burden for providers, some are implementing "stupid stuff" initiatives in a bid to simplify the EHR. 

Honolulu-based Hawaii Pacific Health found that its staff spent 1,700 nursing hours per month on documenting within the EHR. This prompted the hospital to implement a new initiative dubbed "Get Rid of Stupid Stuff" that aimed to create simple fixes to tasks within the EHR that clinicians felt were poorly designed, unnecessary or nonsensical.

The initiative, implemented in 2017, started by getting staff to write down anything within the EHR that was taxing, and in the end, Hawaii Pacific received 200 suggestions.

The suggestions were worked on by two teams — the "Get Rid of Stupid Stuff" team and the EHR working groups. The EHR working groups handled more complex fixes to the EHR while the "stupid stuff" team handled simple fixes. 

The initiative resulted in saving staff at Hawaii Pacific thousands of hours and prompted other hospitals and health systems, such as Cleveland Clinic and New York City-based Mount Sinai, to implement similar initiatives, according to a Sept. 26 Harvard Business Review report. 

Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Novant Health also followed suit, implementing its own initiative, dubbed "Getting Rid of Stupid Stuff." 

The initiative was able to reduce 26 million clicks in the EHR, which, according to Carl Armato, CEO and president of the health system, should save its medical group 36,000 hours, or about four years, of work.

These initiatives come as EHR documentation has been cited as burdensome, costing U.S. healthcare $1 trillion annually.

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