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Vendor partnership is important Gerry McCarthy, senior VP, prod- uct management, McKesson Provider Technologies


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With meaningful-use incentives and potential future penalties looming and many other regulatory and payment reform initiatives in play, there is more at stake than ever in the selection of a clinical information system (CIS), but


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the noise in the market is making it even harder to think through what matters most. The decision now has ramifi ca- tions across every aspect of a healthcare organization’s ability to achieve its mission.


So, what does matter most? A CIS must be robust and effective at many different levels, from the bedside to the board room. It must meet clinical workfl ow needs beyond any one discipline, enabling true multidisciplinary, patient-centered care that includes advanced patient safety technology. It must drive clinical quality and operation process improvement through support for comprehensive data analysis and strategic decision making. And a CIS must support the ability to connect the organization to physicians and the larger patient-care community.


Once the selection is made, the adoption process depends as much on internal commitment and motivation as it does on the software itself. That’s when the true value of vendor partnership comes in to play. Organizations need to ensure that the vision of their chosen partner synchronizes with their own, and that the technology will continue to evolve to meet the care requirements of the future. Ultimately, an organization is investing in a partnership that will last a number of years and requires teamwork, mutual trust and a commitment to drive projects toward the achievement of its vision.


System should let users hit the ground running Janie Schumaker, R.N., M.B.A., C.E.N., C.P.H.Q., manager of the Center for Performance Excellence, T-System Hospitals are bound to experience setbacks when imple- menting clinical systems. Many hassles can be avoided by ensuring that every constituency is represented on an EHR selection committee and by selecting easy-to-use solutions. When establishing the committee, recruit informal leaders to evaluate, choose and champion the EHR. These individuals need not hold offi cial leadership positions, but they should be infl uential and widely respected among their peers. It is critical that they participate in hands-on product demonstra- tions and ask tough questions to help identify the EHR that best meets the majority of users’ needs.


Also, hospitals should steer clear of products featuring too many menus, screens, pick lists and free text. Those


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Make CIS clinician friendly Donald M. Burt, M.D., CMO, Pa- tientKeeper


In order to maximize adoption, clinical information systems should be designed and selected with consider- able input from the clinicians who will use them. This is especially true for physicians, who historically have embraced all manner of advanced technology in the workplace except for IT. As an industry, we’re still not doing a very good job giv- ing physicians IT solutions they like. A physician-centric approach to healthcare IT should be grounded in fi ve key tenets: 1. Respect the way physicians practice medicine. Physicians work hard enough caring for patients; don’t force them to adapt workfl ow to accommodate software design.


2. Ensure IT systems offer physicians a compelling ben- efi t. The absence of a penalty – e.g., “Ordering elec- tronically won’t take you any more time than what you’re doing now” – is not a benefi t. 3. Let physicians practice anywhere, anytime. Hospitals must enable physician mobility through hospital informa- tion systems, since smartphones and tablets alone (popu- lar as they are with physicians), without the information access, are of limited utility. 4. Don’t change everything at once. Hospitals are wise to take an incremental approach to automating physician workfl ow, starting with the serious problem areas, such as CPOE, for example.


5. Focus on the parts physicians see fi rst. What matters to physicians is their experience interacting with software applications that directly touch their processes and workfl ow.


applications will alienate and frustrate end users, harming productivity and af- fecting EHR adoption rates negatively. If the solution is easy to navigate, users will be much more satisfi ed and training costs will be lower. In a nutshell, invest in an application that lets users hit the ground running. Providers should also consider whether they would be better served by an enterprise, best-of-breed or hybrid EHR approach when automating the ED, ICU and other high-acuity areas. Because enterprise EHRs are built for med-surgical areas and best- of-breed solutions are designed to meet the unique needs of specialty departments, the hybrid path offers a smoother tran- sition to automation.


HMT HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY September 2011 15


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