Electronic Health Record Improvement by Design

Department of Pediatrics faculty Michael Semanik, MD, MS, and Jeffrey Sleeth, MD, are part of UW Health’s effort to customize how clinical data about a patient’s disease condition is synthesized in HealthLink, the electronic health record (EHR) physicians use every day in patient care.

Encapsulating Disease-Specific Clinical Data on One Screen

Dr. Semanik, who has a master’s degree in biomedical and health informatics in addition to his medical training as a pediatric nephrologist, has created HealthLink Synopsis views for pediatric chronic kidney disease, rheumatologic disease and patients receiving diuretics.

Each Synopsis encapsulates a patient’s clinical data as it relates specifically to that disease—all on one screen.

For example, the Synopsis view for a patient with chronic kidney disease includes kidney function indicators, urinalysis results, blood pressure, medications, growth and nutrition milestones, relevant imaging and procedures, and links to recent clinical notes.

All the values are displayed over time, and can be layered in a chart so the physician can see a visual representation of trends.

Dr. Sleeth, a member of the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, has assisted the Health Link analysts in creating similar Synopsis views for common conditions seen in pediatric primary care: asthma, obesity and ADHD.

Much like the specialty views, Synopsis views for primary care link data related to specific medical conditions.  For example, in the asthma Synopsis view, providers and clinical staff can review on a single screen current and historical vital signs, asthma control test results, and asthma-related medications. 

Improving Efficiency and Decision Making

Their work is part of an ongoing organization-wide effort to improve EHR ease of use and efficiency.

Once created, Synopsis views save clinicians time spent navigating through data stored in different places within the EHR—enabling them to make decisions more quickly and accurately.  In the future, the Synopsis views may also serve as tools for pre-visit planning.

As physician informaticists, Drs. Semanik and Sleeth use their clinical expertise to recommend content and functionality for each Synopsis view they help develop. “We are bridges,” explains Dr. Semanik. “We provide input at the time of design, and review what the HealthLink team is building.”

In addition to Drs. Semanik and Sleeth, other members of the physician informatics team include:

  • Scott Springman, MD (Department of Anesthesiology);
  • Alex Young, MD (Department of Family Medicine and Community Health);
  • Jessica Bartell, MD, Joel Buchanan, MD, and Jason Dambach, MD (Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine);
  • Richard Bruce, MD, and Gary Wendt, MD (Department of Radiology);
  • J. Scott McMurray, MD (Department of Surgery); and
  • Grace Flood, MD (UW Health Population Health).   

In his role as medical director for ambulatory informatics, the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health’s David Kunstman, MD, oversees all of the outpatient Synopsis projects; similarly, in her role as medical director for inpatient and ED informatics, the Department of Medicine’s Jennifer Passini, MD, a hospitalist, oversees inpatient Synopsis projects.

UW Health Chief Medical Information Officer Shannon Dean, MD, leads the entire effort.

To learn more about how Synopsis views work, or to request that one be created for your specialty, contact Dr. Semanik at semanik@pediatrics.wisc.edu or Dr. Sleeth at Jeffrey.sleeth@uwmf.wisc.edu.