Efficient Management for Better Results

Carolyn Weaver, CIO, Des Moines University
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Carolyn Weaver, CIO, Des Moines University

Challenge in technology to meet Healthcare enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations

We need sufficient adoption of EHR systems by physicians and other clinical staff to capture the data that will inform and improve patient care safety and quality. Adoption has been a real struggle in our organization. In addition, vendor stability is a key challenge in maintaining continuous adoption. Our organization is currently using an EMR that will no longer be supported by the vendor in 2014. This will require us to dedicate our limited resources to find and implement a new system. While the new system may offer additional opportunities, the process will likely set us back in our quest for physician adoption.

Pain points within the Healthcare enterprise for which solutions do not exist yet or not up to the mark and wish would be available

I dream of systems that physicians would easily adopt. As an example, to provide patient notes, the physician could provide them in hand-written or verbal form on a portable device and the system would intelligently and easily translate the input into "coded" notes that could be used for billing, reporting, and decision support. While transcription and hand-writing conversion programs exist today, they are imperfect in their application. I also hope for a secure, portable, universally readable electronic health record that can be read by any health care provider's system. This would allow patients to be the keepers of their own medical records.

What keeps me awake at night is security and compliance. In our small organization, we are challenged with finding the resources to maintain policies and procedures to comply with HITECH and HIPAA regulations and to keep up with the security demands. Data breaches have become so prevalent that it's not a matter of "if", but a matter of "when."

Using data to head off problems before they happen

We are using data to cut costs and increase our system use. For example, we have used information about the costs for scanning and transcription to encourage our providers to use the EMR more fully for patient notes. We are only beginning the process of tapping into the multitude of possible uses for our data.

IT strategic planning to support organization-wide efforts to improve clinical quality, cut costs and improves efficiency

IT strategic planning is key to these efforts. Any attempts to improve will include a technology solution requiring funding. The comprehensive planning process focuses on attention and resources and creates buy-in.

Technology trends that will have significant impact on your enterprise business environment

First, consumerization of IT and bring-your-own device is a growing reality requiring a strategic support model, and the support challenges continue to be of concern. Second, cloud computing continues to be a promising solution to increase service offerings while cutting costs.

Lessons learnt and advice for fellow CIOs

I am most successful when I stay focused on our customers and provide solutions that serve them. While the technology is the focus of most IT staff, you must focus on people first and foremost. I believe that knowing how to manage change while deepening relationships is key to successful technology implementations.

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