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‘Task list’ to boost StarPanel’s messaging capabilities

Jan. 24, 2013, 10:44 AM

Within StarPanel, the medical records system used at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, patient care team members each have an electronic message “basket,” making it simple to store messages and link them to medical records.

Certain administrative messages, by contrast, are not intended to be part of the medical record and purposely are not sent to StarPanel message baskets. Medical records staff organize and evaluate medical records for completeness and clarity, and medical coders translate clinician documentation into diagnosis codes and procedure codes used for billing, hospital management, comparisons of quality, cost and safety, and other purposes.

These staff members often have to ask clinicians to complete or clarify a medical record, sending their requests via encrypted internal emails. To find the records in question, clinicians copy the medical record numbers from the email and paste them into StarPanel. It hasn’t been the most convenient solution.

Thanks to the Vanderbilt Medical Group Innovation Integration Center, a smarter solution is now available. In February, VUMC will give medical coding and medical records staff the ability to send these administrative messages from within StarPanel, along with links to the medical records in question. The incoming messages will appear in a folder labeled “task list,” which has been in use for several months as a place for nurses to send draft electronic prescriptions to prescribers for approval. Task list messages do not become part of the medical record.

“I think it works well. It’s easier than the email notifications,” said C. Louis Garrard III, M.D., assistant professor of Surgery, who has tested the expanded task list.

David Uskavitch, M.D., assistant professor of Neurology and a member of the VMG Innovation Integration Team, said the new system boosts efficiency.

“The vision is to put all administrative tasks in one place within the medical record. This is a huge time saver for our clinicians,” he said.

According to Stephanie Hays, a coding quality consultant with Medical Information Services, administrative staff will also benefit. “The task list will give coders a much more convenient means to track the status of each query,” she said.

StarPanel users who prefer going to the “drafts” folder to complete, sign or attest clinical notes can continue to do so because the drafts folder and task list folder are linked (and will soon be integrated).

Key members of the project team for the expanded task list include Marla Carter, Adam Hall, Zhao Zuo, Jennifer Woods, Russ Beebe, Mary Reeves, Linda McNeil, Stephanie Hays and Christi Wesson.

For more information, clinicians can contact their clinic’s electronic medical records specialist.

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