Not long ago, I visited a large organization with a busy ECG testing service. During that visit, I observed the process used by a manager to review ECG tracing quality, using the organization’s ECG management system. Here is the process:
- Log into the data management application, manually select a sample of tests to review and compile them into a Work List.
- Set up a spreadsheet in Excel that includes fields for identifying each test being reviewed and the staff member that acquires the ECG tracing.
- Toggle back to the Work List and click on the first test to open the tracing for review.
- Review the test for quality purposes.
- Toggle to Excel and enter the following data:
- Test identification
- Technician/Nurse identification
- Comments on tracing quality
- Toggle back to the Work List to select the next tracing
You can see that almost all of these steps are time-consuming, administrative tasks. Many of them involve moving from work list to tracing to spreadsheet and back to work list. As a result, the majority of the time is spent on tedious tasks when the review itself is the most important part of the process.
- The Work List is generated automatically, according to parameters that the user selects by ticking check boxes or according to the parameters used to generate a previous Work List.
- Comments are entered using point-and-click technology.
- Review and the documentation are performed inside one application.
- QUALITYflo automatically sets up a spreadsheet and automatically populates the spreadsheet, including the reviewer’s comments.
- No need to toggle back and forth between two applications.
- No need to toggle back to the Work List to open a tracing. When a tracing file is closed, the next one opens automatically.
All ECG data management systems focus on streamlining the process of acquiring and interpreting ECG tracings. However, exceptional ECG management systems use the same principles to deliver efficient retrospective review of the quality of those tracings.