Transforming Faces decided develop an Electronic Medical Records and Workflow (EMRW) system as part of its monitoring and evaluation process. 

For 14 years, TF has provided comprehensive rehabilitation to more than 10,000 cleft lip and palate patients using a model that empowers local medical specialists with many successes.

TF and its partners want to collect more empirical data to better assess the impact of our approach and to share this knowledge with the international cleft community.

We set out to do this in a way that would be most efficient for our partners and would allow them to devote more of their time to patient care rather than administrative work. With this in mind, we chose to create a workflow system that will allow efficient patient care, with data collection as a by-product.

Phase 1 (research into the experience of other organizations trying develop similar systems) and Phase 2 (research into the unique information management requirements of partner organizations and their individual members of staff) have been completed and have allowed us to look at the who, what,  where, when and how of patient information gathering practices at each partner site.

Lessons Learned

  • Standardization will be one of the most important – and difficult – steps of the process.  Although each partner program is unique, some standardization of forms and processes must occur.  This will provide a common language for reporting and enable data to be shared in a consistent way within and between health care settings, regions, and countries over periods of time.
  • Partner buy-in and commitment over time is critical for project success.
  • We need to pilot a revised and more standardized paper-based workflow before converting to a software-based solution.
  • We know more about how cleft teams work in developing contexts and why they work this way.
  • By discussing clinical workflows, practices, assumptions, and challenges in a team setting, team members report having a better understanding of the pieces that come together to form the whole of a child’s treatment. We have already seen that this improves teamwork and encourages partners to think critically about their processes.

Next Steps

  • We are developing a plan for documenting and publishing these findings as part of our mission to contribute research to the broader cleft community.
  • Over the next two years, we will pilot forms in project sites and will consistently engage with our partners on next steps before we acquire a system and roll out this system.
Want more information or have an idea? Email us!

Alternatively, please drop by our booth at ACPA’s 2014 conference to learn more about this project!