Assemble a Project Team: Clinical Data-sharing

Steps to Assembling a Project Team to Share Clinical Data

Choose team members and schedule meetings

In addition to you, the team should include delegates authorized by you to send messages on your behalf (e.g., your nurse, the manager of the referral process).

Educate team members, then determine current workload

  • At the first team meeting, bring everyone up to speed about electronic data-sharing. Discuss these frequently asked questions(3 page DOC), and answer any questions or concerns.
  • Next, assess the current workload devoted to sharing clinical information by fax, phone, and mail. Ask everyone to come up with a "gut check" estimate of the volume of work they perform and the resources they expend on this work. Have them review these message logs(1 page DOC) for information to include in the estimate.
  • If you want specific data instead of an estimate, ask everyone to use the logs above to record the needed information, or create your own log template.
  • After the first meeting, establish the team's work plan using this form(1 page DOC) or one you develop. Get feedback from the team before finalizing.

Approach other practices

  • At the team's second meeting, ask everyone to think about the kinds of clinical data they share (referrals, patient summaries, discharge summaries, etc.) and then to list the practices they share each kind of data with the most.
  • Approach those practices about sharing clinical data electronically. Use these letters(4 page DOC) or ones you create. Your practice may have to follow up with a second letter or phone call.
  • Keep track of responses so you know how many practices are willing to move to electronic messaging with you.

Analyze collected information and decide

  • Does the current workload and expense help justify the time and money involved in moving to electronic sharing of clinical information?
  • Will making this move free up time for other meaningful work in the practice?
  • Have enough other practices agreed to share data electronically to make the switch worthwhile?
  • Are there other compelling reasons for moving to electronic communication of clinical information? For example, it can support achievement of Meaningful Use.
  • Are you and your practice team ready and willing to make this change?

If you and your team answered "yes" to these questions, then your practice is ready to move ahead with sharing clinical data electronically.

What you will need

  • Decision-making authority
  • Time to select the team, prepare for and hold meetings, and create the work plan
  • Time to develop "gut check" estimates or to collect data on faxes, calls, and mail
  • Logs to collect the data, if needed
  • Time to approach other practices about electronic data sharing
  • Letters to send to the practices
  • Time for analysis, discussion, and decision-making