Steele Memorial Medical Center – A looming Meaningful Use deadline meant a Critical Access Hospital in the Northwest had only months to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments.
The 18-bed Critical Access Hospital (CAH) in the Northwest only had months to attest for Meaningful Use. More than a year of contract negotiations had taken them down to the wire to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments. The medical staff and hospital administration had the right Electronic Health Record (EHR) system–they just needed the right resources to effectively implement the system. Failed IT implementations are not only expensive, but can reduce both the quality of care delivered and productivity of the nursing and physician staff – as well as satisfaction.
The facility contracted with a large regional hospital to serve as the hospital’s third-party source for the EHR system. The hospital also hired a veteran IT consultant from QHR to serve as the project manager and to help implement the new system on time and with minimal disruption to hospital operations. As project manager, the QHR consultant served as the main contact between the hospital and the third-party source for the EHR system–working to resolve issues, set schedules and monitor the project plan.
Bringing in an outside consultant gave the hospital a dedicated project manager who handled the day-to-day tasks to complete the implementation. Hospital employees charged with managing a project of this scope struggle to stay focused as they are easily distracted by their regular responsibilities.
Detailed logs to avoid potential roadblocks. This tracking system facilitated the resolution of issues, large and small, in a timely manner.
A system is only as successful as the willingness of people to use it. The hospital’s physicians were actively involved in the initial EHR selection process, even to the point of stopping the implementation of another system when it became apparent that the system would not meet the hospital’s needs. When the new EHR went live, the physicians were committed to making it work.
Voice of Experience
Worry over missteps can add time and expense to a project. Having a knowledgeable advisor on-site kept the hospital from second-guessing every decision and gave them the confidence to keep moving forward.
A Team Champion
The hospital benefitted from the deep commitment to the project’s success. A positive attitude for coordinating the extensive training schedules kept the project on track.
Physicians and administration spent an entire day at a nearby hospital learning and understanding how the new EHR would work within their hospital. Employees spent more than 1,500 hours in training sessions and this across-the-board instruction empowered all employees to participate in a smooth system roll-out.
QHR also recognized and resolved potential barriers in knowledge and staffing to keep the project moving forward. For instance, as with any implementation of this magnitude, hospitals can anticipate some disruption to revenue cycle and AR days.
QHR’s support in implementing the new EHR system enabled the hospital to:
- Attest for Meaningful Use after only 100 days of using the system
- Anticipate an incentive payment of approximately $800,000
- Improve quality and efficiency
- Increase patient, physician and employee satisfaction