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Epic Investment May Have Prompted CIO’s Departure

Posted on July 15, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

As Forbes notes, Epic Systems has a gold-plated reputation in the hospital C-suite. In fact, we’re at the point where it’s accepted wisdom that you can’t lose your job for picking Epic.

But this time, it may actually have happened.  Barry Blumenfeld, former chief information officer at Maine Medical Center in Portland, seems to  have ended up leaving in part because of the financial impact of the hospital’s $160 million Epic buy, Forbes reports.

It’s worth noting that Maine Medical Center had other financial problems in addition to the cost of the Epic implementation. It’s also important to bear in mind that the Epic install seems to have gone badly, slowing collections and thereby cutting revenue. But the fact remains that the big-ticket Epic purchase wasn’t a golden ticket for Blumenfeld.

According to Forbes, other stories of career-mangling Epic disasters are popping up as well. For example, it noted that the chief information officer of Wake Forest Baptist Health recently resigned in the middle of a troubled Epic launch.

Sheila Sanders, who was also VP of information technology, had been on board since 2009, hired to direct the facility’s IT overhaul, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. The Journal piece notes that Wake Forest, too, has seen expected revenue delayed due to problems with the Epic rollout. The hospital had spent about $13.3 milion on Epic, and now cites $8 million in Epic-related implementation expense and $26.6 million in lost margin due to volume disruptions related to go-live issues.

Of course, a CIO can lose their job if any EMR they’re implementing calamitously fails to live up to expectations, be it Epic or another platform. But these anecdotes suggest that the high expense associated with an Epic rollout — and perhaps just as importantly, high expectations — can do more to damage a CIO’s reputation than some might think.

101 Tips to Make Your EMR and EHR More Useful – EHR Tips 81-85

Posted on August 2, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Time for the second entry covering Shawn Riley’s list of 101 Tips to Make your EMR and EHR More Useful. I hope you’re enjoying the series.

85. Test, retest, and test the network and wireless
Far too many EHR implementations fail because of basic technology issues. Of course, the blame usually gets placed squarely on the head of the EHR company. However, in many of the cases, the EHR company has no control over the issues you have. Your local wireless and network is one place where you can doom an EHR installation and the EHR company can do nothing about it. If you want to have a great EHR installation make sure you have a great network and/or wireless infrastructure set up and tested.

84. Have ONE number to call
This recommendation applies more to large EMR installations than it does to small ones. The basic suggestion is not to give one phone number for EMR issues (ie. I can’t login) and another for technology related issues (ie. my PC crashed). The problem with multiple lines is that people don’t generally know the difference between an EMR issue and a PC issue. At the end of the day, they’re likely to consider almost everything an EMR issue. So, they’re going to call the same number anyway. You might as well just have one number that knows how to triage the issue well and direct them to the right support resource.

83. Remember who the support team’s customers are
Another recommendation for hospital EHR support. It is a great idea to remember that the support team’s customers are the clinicians that are calling for help. Prepare them for the calls they’re going to get. While clinicians are highly educated, that doesn’t guarantee that their education included even basic computer skills. You’ll be surprised how many of the issues have to do with basic computer skills as much as any EMR specific support.

82. Have a communication strategy for when things go wrong
Things are bound to go wrong. So, be ready to communicate those issues. Don’t sweep the issues under the rug either. Communicate more than is necessary. It won’t hurt as much to over communicate as it will to not communicate something important.

81. Make all of your planning very public within your organization
The fastest way to get buy in for an EHR project is to involve your organization in the planning process. Yes, that means that you’re going to hear some harsh feedback from people about what you’ve planned. Be grateful that you’re hearing the feedback during the planning stage when you can work to do something about it. That’s much better than being half way through the project and hearing the harsh criticism of your project.

If you want to see my analysis of the other 101 EMR and EHR tips, I’ll be updating this page with my 101 EMR and EHR tips analysis. So, click on that link to see the other EMR tips.

How Many Doctors Does It Take To Doom An EMR Installation?

Posted on June 20, 2011 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Q: How many doctors does it take to doom an EMR installation?  A: Only one, even if everyone else wants to change.

OK, maybe that’s too harsh, but it does bring home a key point. When you’re trying to build support for your EMR launch, you’re probably best advised to root out potential naysayers and empower them to the dickens rather than trotting out your cheerleader (whoops, EHR champion) and having them make inspiring speeches.

I was thinking about this the other day at a local professional gathering, when one of the speakers made a remark that stayed with me.  A vendor executive, whose candor impressed the heck out of me, said the following: “You may not find any champions to drive your EHR installation, but you’ll always get at least one cynic.”

Amen, sister. It’s just human nature. No matter how bright and sparkly your software installation is, you’ll always have someone who just doesn’t like it and roots for it to fail. Unfortunately, if your application is an EMR, that someone may be a physician, who could — depending on their professional and social clout — talk your project into the ground.

Sadly, it’s often the people who know the least about something new that give it the worst rap, and my sense is that EMR projects are no different.

Beware the physician that hangs on the sidelines, slips away early during training sessions and doesn’t ask many questions. You may be more worried about the doctors that complain loudly, and heaven knows you should address their concerns, but sometimes the clinicians who quietly opt out are just as damaging to EHR user morale.

So, at the risk of being a real pain, I invite you to consider this: does your organization face internal dissent from clinicians who haven’t been given the attention they deserve? Are you taking silence for support?  And most importantly, do you have a strategy for making your cynics happy?