The efforts of Gaylord and Huntzinger created a new IT culture that engages clinicians as the drivers behind IT decisions. Patient care and safety improvements include a new hardware infrastructure to support its EHR, a new nurse call system, a new telemetry system with centralized patient monitoring, as well as bedside computing and medication verification. Additionally, an integrated alarm management system routes alerts to the appropriate caregiver via new wireless phones and wireless network. The alarm management system will enable Gaylord to meet 2016 Joint Commission requirements. These infrastructure improvements provide the flexibility to support future enhancements.
The new enterprise-wide solutions created a platform for CMHC to be compliant with Meaningful Use Stage 2 and ICD-10 requirements. The number of systems and vendor relationships were reduced, enabling CMHC to focus on not just maintaining IT, but optimizing it to improve clinical and financial workflows and care delivery. Additional projects to complete the transformation are planned for the coming year.
Huntzinger’s technical assessment included an evaluation of the organization’s readiness for IT transformation, focusing on governance, existing processes, vendor management, and limitations in staffing and finances. Causes of unanticipated impacts and potential pitfalls were identified and documented. The assessment revealed specific shortcomings in organizational and IT strategies that needed to be resolved before system selection and implementation. Assessment findings were leveraged to create an IT roadmap designed to improve organizational readiness, correct IT deficiencies, and guide the organization down a path for successful system selection and implementation.
The Huntzinger Management Group (Huntzinger) was selected to help the Hanover Hospital leadership get its hands around its information technology organization and strategy while also developing a comprehensive plan to address the most pressing IT issues facing the health system. In the words of Jim Wissler, the Hanover President and CEO, the hospital leadership team was “…impressed with the caliber of people Huntzinger was able to pull together for project management, bringing in expertise we couldn’t recruit on our own and doing things we couldn’t do as an organization of our size.” Nancy Ripari, the Huntzinger Client Executive working with Hanover, echoes this point when she reflects on the relationship: “Community-based hospitals really can’t compete for, and successfully recruit this level of key talent; on a consulting basis you get talent you otherwise could not afford.”
Implementing electronic medical records via a big bang approach is faster, which often means cost savings associated with labor, training, and technical resources. Project management needs, continual software upgrades, and the chance that an organization becomes trapped in a perpetual implementation cycle are all reduced with a big bang model. Rapid deployment also reduces reliance on legacy systems and functions, keeping the organization on the same page and mitigating compliance risks from disparate systems.
Without technical staff, health systems can’t implement required improvements such as electronic medical records, or make compliance or productivity-based upgrades to existing software. In late 2013, the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) polled 224 industry organizations and found around one-third had delayed critical IT projects because of a lack of skilled staffers. Chief Information Officers throughout the healthcare industry report increased difficulty hiring appropriate resources.
Hackers function within extremely sophisticated operating environments, complete with international switching mechanisms, open source code and “bot” sharing, business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities, and security protection that exceed those of the organizations they attack.
The first wave of ambulatory EHR implementations ranged from self-developed applications to a host of commercially available systems. These implementations were costly, failed to deliver the desired benefits, and all too frequently had an adverse impact on the efficiency of the practices. Following the initial adopters, a second wave of practices implemented EHRs in pursuit of Meaningful Use with its associated financial incentives. Many of these practices suffered similar fates as a result of implementing the EHRs. Now, according to a new KLAS report, a third wave of more than 25 percent of ambulatory practices are considering replacing their EHR systems. What post-implementation results will the practices in this third-wave experience? According to Einstein, unless we change our approach to implementing these new EHRs, the results will be equally inadequate.