Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Johns Hopkins Part 2: Is This Service Excellence?

The initial response to my email (see earlier post) was from a staff person who was supposed to respond to patient issues. I thanked her for her call and emphasized that it would be better if I received a call from a more senior person who could address my concerns with their EHR system and the ease of its use.

Later I received a call from Ms. Becky Zuccarelli, Director of Service Excellence, who informed me that because of HIPPA requirements that she would need a release before she could talk to me about the patient issue. I informed her that this was not a HIPPA issue as it was not about a specific patient but about their system. While she tried to do what she was trained to do, she was unable to understand the broader implications of the failure of their EHR system to either engage physicians or other health care providers or be responsive to the needs of patients. Ms. Zuccarelli's focus on service excellence missed concerns about system adequacy.

Part of the success of any new system is listening to feedback from users and fixing the problem. Handling a situation is not the answer. I emphasized that they need to fix their EHR system before they kill someone and the fatal mistake ends up being chalked up to medical error rather than avoidable system failure.

I am still hoping for a meaningful response and will keep you posted on what happens next.