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"Patient Care" playing card/IT Support

By fran.popp ·
In healthcare IT, it is very common once the user finds out the card is available to say... "This is a Patient Care issue and needs resolved immediately".

Those of us providing Healthcare IT support wrangle with this phrase being played all the time.

Some of the things I've tried to use have been open ended questions, vs. YES/NO questions because you need the information and YES/NO does not always provide what you need.

Some of my phrases include:
-How many other pcs are there in your dept?
-What type of workaround do you have?

Any other good questions or ways to define a true patient care issue from other HC IT people would be great.

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by fran.popp In reply to "Patient Care" playing ca ...

Point value changed by question poster.

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by angela.brown2 In reply to "Patient Care" playing ca ...

Being in Healthcare IT myself, I know what you are saying. We have a set standard for issues to determine if they are direct patient care issues. Does the problem directly affect the patient's healthcare? (ie, delay orders being sent, delay viewing results, delay admission or discharge? Are all computers on the unit down?) Knowing that each of our units have at least 4-6 computers helps. Also, certain issues are ruled out immediately. Unless it is the medical library, ER, or pharmacy, not being able to get onto the internet is not considered a direct patient care issue. If the above mentioned departments our first question is "What site are your trying to access?" If they say the are doing medical research or trying to look up drug interactions we know this is a priority. If a printer is not working, which printer is it? What are you trying to print? Discharge papers are a priority, while email is not.

Our organization's helpdesk has also set standard response times for issues. Direct patient care issues are to be initially addressed within 15 minutes of the helpdesk ticket creation. Of course the priority of this ticket is at the sole discretion of the helpdesk dispatcher. That is why a set of standards becomes very important. For all other issues, we must try to initiate contact with the end user in 3 hours. Whether this is by phone, email, or pager. We try to give an accurate estimate of when the issue will be addressed.

Every NCM, and every Dr. is going to consider their issue to be a priority. It is up to your IT department to set standards of service, and to define exactly what is considered a Direct Patient Care issue. Once you have this, it will be much easier to evaluate incoming issues, and to deal with irate Dr.'s and nurses.

I hope this helps you in some way, and good luck.

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by techless In reply to "Patient Care" playing ca ...

The support from our IT dept is always heirarchial in nature. If the main server or the whole network is down, that has highest priority; then if users do not have access that is next; if it is a printer / scanner other interface problem (that probably is next) ... and when all the rest of the world is calm we will deal with an individual user and their requests. Some days a lot of those pile up!! Also -- at some point you can spend lots of time just asking the questions to get to the point when you could have solved their problem in 5 minutes of fixing time.

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by cp7212 In reply to "Patient Care" playing ca ...

I am not in the health care field, but in my workplace almost everyone thinks their problem is always the worst and needs fixed now. I hear all kinds of excuses and ploys as to this issue. Very few users are pretty good about waiting and most want to be spoon-fed NOW. It's just human nature and I believe there will always be people like that, no matter what business you work for.

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by bschaettle In reply to "Patient Care" playing ca ...

I'm in healthcare as well. Ask the user to characterize the patient care issue.
[1] Are patients dying because of this issue?
[2] Are patients receiving substandard care because of this issue?
[3] Are patients are being inconvenienced because of the issue?

Usually the answer to all three questions is "no."

Finally, ask them if STAFF are being inconvenienced due to this issue. I find that 99% of the time, this is what it boils down to, especially if the user has "MD" on their name tag. Tell them that it'll get looked into, write it up and send it up the line to your supervisor for prioritization.

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