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The UAB Medicine Clinical Informatics Team provides expert support on EHR systems and processes

When it comes to physician wellness, one of the chief culprits of clinical aggravation is the “Notorious EHR.” Traditionally, the Electronic Health Record has been a common enemy many clinicians love to hate, but here at UAB we have a collaborative group of workflow design specialists who aim to change that reputation, one systematic improvement at a time.

The UAB Medicine Clinical Informatics Team shows up to work every day with the goal of “providing support and analysis of clinical system integration in keeping with business objectives.” In other words, they aim to make the EHR more friendly and efficient for those who use it in the hospital, across more than 160 campus and remote clinics, and telemedicine locations across the state. Like many support teams, their work often happens behind the scenes, which means physicians don’t often realize they have 20 talented clinical informatics specialists and trainers in their corner.

Wendy Tissier, Senior Director of Clinical Informatics, is quick to point out the benefits of collaborating with the team. “We have dedicated people to specific service lines, but all communications are routed through a central email and triaged. If the designee isn’t available, we are all cross-trained to cover. Most reports get a response within an hour or two of being sent to clinicalinformatics@uabmc.edu.

The team is also working proactively to make larger system-wide improvements. “We have been charged with certain regulatory objectives, and the very best way for us to implement them is to have an engaged physician group at the table to speak to the needs of the end-user,” Tissier continues. It’s an area of input that has expanded thanks to the UAB EHR Task Force led by Reid Jones, COO, and Bill Carroll, MD, Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology. As a result of their user survey feedback, numerous concerns have been brought to light which has given the group valuable insights on tangible targets. 

Moreover, the team is ready, willing and able to come to unit/faculty meetings to learn ways the system can be improved. “We see this as a team effort, not just from the CI Team, but from an extended team of users,” Tissier explains. “With collaboration, we can have a meaningful impact on both the system and the processes that govern patient interactions.”

Department of Medicine Senior Advisor and Director for Wellness, John Kennedy, MD, is actively working to promote engagement with the Clinical Informatics Team. “When we feel like we have no power to change, it’s demoralizing. Knowing there are professionals who are motivated to make a positive difference is the first step toward creating a system that enhances rather than detracts from wellness. The next step is initiating a conversation to collaborate. I urge all clinicians in the DOM to take advantage of the CI Team as a resource for wellness."

To get started, contact the clinical informatics specialist for your area to suggest specific improvements or email clinicalinformatics@uabmc.edu.

Clincial Informatics Team Members pictured above: 

Back L-R: Barry Waggoner (ED, Urgent Care, OCDU, Psych); Jeff Burr (Trainer); Adam Burgess (Manager); Jake Jones (Digestive Health, Liver Transplant, Lab); Terrance Reed (Pulmonary, Thoracic Surgery); Jonett Beasley (Prime Care/Hospitalist, Infectious Diseases); Joey McConnell (Trainer)

Middle L-R: Jennifer Walker (Prime Care/Hospitalist, Geriatrics, eMedicine); Justine Brice (Women’s Services); Lindsey Burks (Manager); Gretchen Kennamer (Oncology, Case Mgmt, Neurology/Neurosurgery); Jan Ellison (Women’s Services); Elizabeth Willoughby (Endocrinology, Nutrition, Nephrology/Renal Transplant, Rheumatology); John Mardant (ENT, Urology, OMS, Radiology)

Sitting L-R: Kelsey Mitchell (Oncology, Case Mgmt, Neurology/Neurosurgery); Hien Do (Cardiology, CV Surgery, CV Imaging); Crystal Gersh (Ortho/Ortho Trauma, Trauma, Rehab Services); Veronica Smoke (Vascular Surgery, Plastics, Dermatology, Genetics); Wendy Tissier (Senior Director)