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eStar Physician Builders develop creative workflows

Mar. 19, 2020, 8:32 AM


by Paul Govern

Through its eStar Physician Builders Program, Vanderbilt University Medical Center supports physicians and other health care team members in devising new content and tools for VUMC’s health information technology system.

To date, some 47 employees have undergone training and certification as physician builders or clinical content builders, and each has been paired with an eStar analyst from Health IT.

Jonathan Wanderer, MD, MPhil, is the director of the eStar Physician Builders Program at VUMC.
Jonathan Wanderer, MD, MPhil, is the director of the eStar Physician Builders Program at VUMC. (photo by Susan Urmy)

As an eStar Physician Builder, “You yourself have the technical ability to go into our system and configure it the way that you want it to work. You can then partner with our analysts and teams to get that configuration tested and into the production environment here at VUMC,” said the director of the program, Jonathan Wanderer, MD, MPhil, associate professor of Anesthesiology and Biomedical Informatics.

“With this program, the big advantage is that you can get folks who already know the medicine really well and get them involved in designing and building new systems features, or changes to workflows that help with patient care.”

Here are some examples of the work of eStar Physician Builders:

  • Chetan Aher, MD, assistant professor of Surgery, and Teri Huff, RN, senior associate, Nursing Administration, created the eStar bariatric procedure pass, which allows teams to easily track surgical weight loss patients as they progress through psychiatric and medical evaluations, endoscopy, insurance approval, medical weight loss trials and so on.
  • When a specialist provides a consult in the Emergency Department, patient disposition entails completion of a consult note. Wanderer designed the brief consult note process, which helps the ED avoid delays by ending the wait for full consult notes to be completed. The brief consult note is devoted solely to the consultant’s disposition recommendation; it can be completed in a minute or two using an eStar smartphone app, at which point the information is flagged on the ED track board and the ED team gets a smartphone alert. When the consultant later begins the full consult note, the disposition recommendation gets inserted automatically. The brief consult note has been piloted by neurology, neurosurgery, orthopaedic surgery and urology.
  • In the electronic health records (EHRs) of complex pediatric patients, it’s less than ideal if documentation about matters like airway management or complex feeding regimens are dispersed among multiple notes. With input from his department’s Complex Care Team, Barron Patterson, MD, associate professor of Pediatrics, devised a tool that supports consolidation of this EHR documentation. It’s among several eStar features devised by Patterson.
  • Wael Alrifai, MD, MS, assistant professor of Pediatrics and Biomedical Informatics, devised a comprehensive neonatal care dashboard in the EHR. Also, for babies who are expected to be born sick, he created a tool for preloading a care plan summary that appears automatically in the EHR upon documenting of the patient’s birth.

Alrifai has worked on these and other new content features with input from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit eStar Workgroup and the Pediatrics eStar Forum.

Physician builder training and, for non-physicians, clinical content builder training, each take six days to complete, with training provided in two courses by Epic Systems Corp., the Verona, Wisconsin-based health IT company that develops the platform on which eStar runs. Last spring, Epic trainers were on campus at VUMC and provided the first half of this training and will do so again in the future. The course is otherwise given in Wisconsin.

For more information visit the VUMC SharePoint website devoted to the eStar Physician Builder Program (employee login required).

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