Chad Hiner RN, MS, is director, healthcare industry solutions for nVoq, Inc. He works with nVoq partners and customers developing voice-enabled use cases, providing the clinician perspective for EHR, mobile forms and other applications. He also plays a major role in validation and prioritization of market-driven product requirements.
Before joining nVoq, Hiner spent 15 years working in clinical environments, including: an Army Combat Support Hospital (CSH), a bone-marrow and stem-cell transplant unit and a trauma surgical intensive care unit. He has been involved in a variety of health IT implementations, and previously worked as a clinical operations and workflow analyst for a level-one trauma and academic medical center. He is published in the “American Journal of Critical Care Nursing,” presented at the University Health System Consortium (UHC) Annual Conference, and participated in the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase™ for five years. He was most recently appointed to be the chair of the advocacy committee for HIMSS Washington State chapter.
HIMSS: How did you become involved with HIMSS?
Hiner: As a graduate informatics student I was encouraged to volunteer at the HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition in 2008. I was selected to work with the team that organizes and runs the Interoperability Showcase™. It was an amazing experience, and it opened my eyes to what is possible in the world of health IT. I continued to volunteer with the Interoperability Showcase™ over the next five years, and eventually took on the role of a technical project manager. I enjoyed my time volunteering at the HIMSS annual conference and would encourage anyone interested in getting involved to do the same.
HIMSS: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your involvement with HIMSS?
Hiner: It is absolutely the people that I have met; I have developed close friendships with colleagues throughout the United States and abroad. The networking opportunities are endless, and everyone is working towards a common goal, which is to advance health IT to improve patient care.
HIMSS: What do you anticipate the greatest challenge will be as chair of the advocacy committee at the Washington chapter?
Hiner: As a first-year chair, I will have to acquire the knowledge, clarify the values and learn specific skills and strategies to be successful. This will present both challenges and opportunities that I look forward to. Advancing the use of technology to improve healthcare quality and safety seems like a very simple concept; however, I realize there is resistance and multiple competing interests. It will come down to aligning goals and communicating a clear, long-term vision for how technology can support them. Of course, dealing with the bureaucracy and politics will be challenging, but I can’t wait to get started.
HIMSS: What do you hope to accomplish as the chair of the advocacy committee during your term as chair?
Hiner: Having spent 15 years as a registered nurse, working at the bedside, providing patient care and using technology, I believe I am in a unique position to provide the clinician and patient perspective. I hope to be able to effectively communicate the benefits of health IT from the ground level. If I can effectively communicate what is needed, I believe the policy makers will be better prepared to support the legislation that is being written. Nurses are trained to be advocates, so I plan use this skill-set.
HIMSS: Please provide some of the greatest challenges and successes you’ve had while working with providers to optimize their clinical workflow with speech enabled solutions?
Hiner: We are at an interesting time with regards to clinical documentation. Electronic health records (EHR) have been widely implemented, yet providers are struggling with adoption; clinical workflow has been disrupted, and therefore, productivity is down. This is a real challenge.
I believe focusing on workflow will allow providers to improve their outcomes. This can be accomplished while simultaneously improving patient safety and quality. By observing the documentation habits of a provider, inefficiencies in the workflow can be identified quickly. It might be the difficulty of navigating the multiple drop-down menus and pick-lists in their EHR; or the problem may stem from having to access multiple EHR’s to extract information. The problem may also be that they have to document the same thing multiple times with each patient encounter.
These are the rote tasks that providers dislike and see little value in, so why not automate these steps? Speech-enabled workflow automations can help providers complete tasks with one voice command. Voice commands can open an application or navigate to a specific place in the EHR or insert text in a pre-defined location.
I recently worked closely with a group of radiologists who move between systems (RIS/PACS) while viewing images and dictating, to eventually produce a report. We were able to optimize their workflow through the use of voice-enabled templates and macros to reduce report generation time by 50 percent. This is one example, but there are many. It all comes down to working with the providers, understanding their workflow (to include the technology involved), and providing excellent customer service.
HIMSS: What advice would you give professionals just entering the healthcare or IT field?
Hiner: I believe it is important to focus on the soft skills as much as the hard skills. Soft skills include interpersonal effectiveness, the ability to communicate, to be a team player, build trust and act as a leader. Health IT takes an analytical and a logical mind. One must be able to see the big picture while focusing on the details. I have had the opportunity to mentor some talented people, and I always encourage them to do the best they possibly can with the job they are given, even if it is not what they thought they would be doing. Seek out challenges, and look at them as opportunities to improve and grow.