I spent the summer as an intern at the Center for Digital Health Innovation at UCSF. Since the world of digital health is so broad, it was very much a choose-your-own-adventure type experience. I ultimately completed two main projects: one had to do with communications and medical informatics and the other with piloting an app.
Project 1: Developing a new communication strategy to educate in-patient physicians about EHR software updates.
Physician awareness about changes to EHR systems is important to maintain clinical workflow and patient safety, but mass e-mail announcements have proven ineffective in communicating these changes to them. I conducted a survey of UCSF residents to understand why information about EHR updates was not reaching physicians. Most respondents (30/42) cited receiving frequent e-mail updates with only tangential relevance to their work ¬¬¬as a major reason for not reading e-mails. Based on these results I designed a new communication workflow to increase the salience of EHR update notifications by eliminating superfluous updates and by targeting each message only to individuals affected by the change. I presented my findings and suggestions to UCSF’s Chief Medical Information Officer and coordinated UCSF’s EHR build teams, EHR training team, reporting work group, and IT services team to prepare for implementation of the new workflow.
Project 2: CareWeb Desktop Pilot.
CareWeb is a team-based communication web application (a Facebook/Twitter/paging hybrid) meant to replace pagers. Messages about a specific patient populate a patient wall, the sender and recipient’s walls, and are viewable by the patient’s entire treatment team. A version of the web application is currently in use on many services at UCSF. However, the biggest barrier to use has been the application’s latency and long loading times. To address this issue, my mentor’s team developed a new desktop version of the application that is much faster than the web version. I assisted with the launch of the pilot for the new desktop version by performing usability testing, synthesizing feedback from initial users, and generating training materials for the launch of the pilot. During usability testing, initial users appreciated the faster responsiveness of the desktop app and its streamlined user interface compared to the web app. They also helped us identify areas for improvement such as incorporating a message delivery confirmation alert and making some aspects of the navigation more intuitive.