Managing and Communicating Operational WorkflowDesigning and Implementing an Electronic Outpatient Whiteboard
09 July 2015
accepted: 06 February 2015
16 December 2017 (online)
Healthcare team members in emergency department contexts have used electronic whiteboard solutions to help manage operational workflow for many years. Ambulatory clinic settings have highly complex operational workflow, but are still limited in electronic assistance to communicate and coordinate work activities.
To describe and discuss the design, implementation, use, and ongoing evolution of a coordination and collaboration tool supporting ambulatory clinic operational workflow at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC).
The outpatient whiteboard tool was initially designed to support healthcare work related to an electronic chemotherapy order-entry application. After a highly successful initial implementation in an oncology context, a high demand emerged across the organization for the outpatient whiteboard implementation. Over the past 10 years, developers have followed an iterative usercentered design process to evolve the tool.
The electronic outpatient whiteboard system supports 194 separate whiteboards and is accessed by over 2800 distinct users on a typical day. Clinics can configure their whiteboards to support unique workflow elements. Since initial release, features such as immunization clinical decision support have been integrated into the system, based on requests from end users.
The success of the electronic outpatient whiteboard demonstrates the usefulness of an operational workflow tool within the ambulatory clinic setting. Operational workflow tools can play a significant role in supporting coordination, collaboration, and teamwork in ambulatory healthcare settings.
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