being used, how much value did they provide), and exploring workfl ow, care coordination and operational challenges that could be addressed. With the state of the physician ecosystem clearly under- stood, Huntington determined that the most logical starting point was with electronic prescribing, which was rolled out in February 2010. Physicians who were considering adopting technology to improve care provision and practice operational effi ciencies embraced the new functionality as a baby step into technology adoption, prompting Huntington to immediately expand its efforts. By June it had selected the Allscripts Com- munity Record and interoperability platform to serve as the foundation for Huntington Health eConnect (HHeC). Over the course of the past year, Huntington Hospital has been building the infrastructure for HHeC and is beginning with pilot practices and extending to other physician groups. Throughout the process, HHeC has been met with support and enthusiasm.
Keys to success
The reason for this high degree of success and engage- ment is straightforward: communication. Leadership at Huntington Hospital was committed to nurturing dialog with community practices and throughout its own organization. Its communications plan suggested that hospital staff involved with HHeC’s development spend time visiting physicians’ offi ces to help physicians understand what to consider when selecting and adopting technology, and what provides the greatest value for them and the patient care they provide, including the importance of information exchange required for care collaboration available through HHeC. Because these meetings were held on their turf, they accelerated the level of trust, understanding and collaboration between the practices and Huntington.
Huntington also offered a series of educational seminars for community doctors on relevant topics such as electronic medical records (EMR), the process of EMR selection and adoption, federal incentives available and how to qualify, how to create effi ciencies and reduce cost within their practice, and how to correlate the exchange of information with the quality and effi cacy of care delivery. In 2010 and 2011, nine events were held, located at a central location, with both lunchtime and evening sessions scheduled for the physicians’ and their staffs’ convenience. More are scheduled throughout the remainder of 2011.
Huntington likewise held meetings inside the hospital to share the challenges physicians in private practice face in dealing with all the paper modes of clinical information sharing, federal and state regulations, mandates and engaged department staff in fi guring ways to improve process in care coordination with community physicians. These sessions triggered a shift, with personnel realizing its mission was not just contained within the walls of the hospital. The organiza- tion realized that with physicians, Huntington “treats, heals
and saves 11,000 patients a day.” One thousand patients are cared for in the hospital and 10,000 are seen in physician offi ces – and all are in the community Huntington is com- mitted to serve.
Huntington also took pains to develop a brand for this new connected community of health, Huntington Health eCon- nect. Because the implementation was grassroots with com- munity physician engagement, Huntington HHeC became our technology rather than the hospital’s interoperability platform. With community healthcare team engagement in the process from the beginning, it is naturally embracing health information exchange as its own.
Physicians who were considering adopting technology to improve care provision and practice operational effi ciencies embraced the new functionality as a baby step into technology adoption, prompting Huntington to immediately expand its efforts.
The HHeC project likewise took into account the various levels of technology experience community physicians display. While the Pasadena area attracts many young physicians, not all are techno-savvy, and there were older physicians who were hesitant about adopting technology. Some simply were inexperienced and others – particularly those nearing the end of their careers – were concerned about the cost and value of investing in technology.
The Huntington Hospital team took care to work closely with the physicians who were unfamiliar with EMRs to pro- vide information, reassurance and guidance. And Huntington acknowledged that physicians with fi ve or fewer years left to practice should not feel compelled to invest heavily in a new system to participate in this new connected health community. Instead, it worked with its interoperability vendor to develop a secure portal so these physicians could participate in HHeC without purchasing their own EMR. To further encourage adoption, Huntington HHeC not only can deliver results directly into physicians EHRs, but can provide a launch button to go from EHRs into a collaborative view within their normal workfl ow.
While the development and implementation of Hunting- ton HHeC is an ongoing process, hospital staff and com- munity physicians alike are viewing the collaborative effort as a positive success. Patient information is available when and where it’s needed to support patient care decisions, and caregivers throughout San Gabriel can collaborate in unprec- edented ways – functioning as a truly connected healthcare community.
HMT HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY September 2011 17