EHR Improvement: Data Driven Success - Cover

EHR Improvement: Data Driven Success

In our house, we often say, “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.” And, while I understand that the psychology of behavior has way more nuance than that quote suggests, I think it contains a valuable principle. That is, the memory – or data – we have of others’ past behavior can help us make decisions about the future.

At the end of the day, we have to structure our lives around the data available to us. In fact, we wouldn’t get very far without data. As W. Edwards Deming is attributed as saying, “In God we trust; all others must bring data.”

Setting aside religion, this is as true in the professional sphere as it is at home. When we’re trying to sway opinion or make an important decision, data is our most powerful ally. For many years, KLAS has focused on vendor performance data that is designed to help providers:

  • Make informed buying decisions;
  • Understand the roadblocks and successes of a given vendor;
  • Come to the negotiating table prepared;
  • Learn the layout of new markets.

In each of these scenarios, a provider’s position is only strengthened when they can bring accurate, honest insight into the process. Data has the power to distill gut feelings into reality or act as a gut-check when our intuition is misplaced. Data shapes the way we understand and act on problems. Without it, we’re left feeling around in the dark.

As one provider I spoke with explained,

I used KLAS data to support my fight against our health system bringing in [a vendor’s] ED module. We were already on [their EMR], and my hospital's leadership was trying to force me into taking on that module. I successfully waged that battle, and eventually we got a new CMIO who supported my views. Then, ultimately, our executives changed their views on [the EMR] altogether.”

 -ED Physician

Last year, we took our research machine and started drilling deeper into the work of clinicians. Specifically, we’re gathering data concerning the satisfaction of EHR end-users; doctors, nurses, etc. This comes on the heels of the industry’s general sentiment that the EHR is a broken system; I even heard one provider say, “[the EHR] is the signature disaster of my career in medicine.”

Clearly, if there was a piece of healthcare that could use the power of data to enact change, the EHR is it.

We’ve learned quite a bit as more and more organizations add their voices to our ever-growing pool of Arch Collaborative data. In particular, we find a lot of hardworking provider leaders have earnestly been trying to push changes within their organizations. Yet without data, it can be as difficult for CMIOs, CIOs, or CWOs to get resources for EHR optimization as it is for them to get resources for negotiating with vendors or deciding to buy a new tool.

When we met with this group of Collaborative members back in May, one of the most common questions during discussions on best practices was, “How did you convince your executive team to approve that?”

The most frequent response for these pioneering successes in EHR satisfaction was that the leader in question had to cash in on a lot of goodwill they had earned from other successes. For some, it meant they scraped together what little resources they could to try and prove that their ideas were successful.

KLAS has published over 50 case studies (and counting!) from high-satisfaction organizations on subjects ranging from training and personalization to governance structure and organization culture. These insights don’t just help lay out a path for provider leaders looking to start on EHR optimization; they also bring much-needed data into the conversation of how health systems can best improve the EHR for their end users.

We understand that this kind of insight is invaluable to healthcare organizations, so we’ve made initial participation in the Arch Collaborative free for organizations who want to measure their users and begin to make changes. Contact us at to learn more.