Dedicated staff helps Mount Desert Island provide compassionate care


"Teamwork" is a word that gets tossed around rather easily in many conversations, especially when the subject is hospital IT departments. But if you've got a nine-person team working in a converted conference room, "teamwork" is more than a word; it's a necessity.

Since Mark White, IT director at Mt. Desert Island Hospital, in Bar Harbor, Maine, took over the IT department four years ago, he's made teamwork his core focus.

"It gets stuff done," he put it succinctly. "One of the things I've done is made my staff a part of the decision-making process. I treat them like I would want to be treated."

Naturally, White has plenty of opportunity to put his philosophy to work, as his staff has been "90 miles per hour" for quite some time. They completely replaced their network infrastructure two years ago, are in the process of rolling out a new CPOE system, and implementing EHRs in eight health centers scattered throughout the area.  

All that, as they integrate their system with Maine HealthInfoNet, the state's sole HIE.

"The biggest thing for the group," White said, "is we gotta have fun. We spend a lot of late nights as a team, but this hospital is awesome. The staff is so friendly and helpful that we want to help them."

In the eyes of Chrissi Harding, Mt. Desert's CFO, "our IT department is not just a group of individuals working on computers or connections. They are dedicated, compassionate and connected to our staff, providers and community."

Noting that "part of the mission of our hospital is to provide compassionate care and strengthen the health of our community," Harding added that "our IT department is centric to encouraging, implementing and leading our institution towards necessary changes that will make these new technologies available to our providers and thus our community."

To reward his staff, White said, "we get out quarterly and celebrate our successes." Harding added that "every month one of these wonderful individuals is recognized for going beyond the scope of their duties to help our patients, our fellow employees or someone in the community."

Of course, White knows that keeping abreast of the constant changes across the IT world means consistent training, so funding that effort was another change he introduced upon taking over.

"Within the budget process the IT department didn't have training dollars," he said, describing the situation when he first arrived. "I've fought for that and will take a hit on (things like) rolling out monitors to protect training dollars."

His success at getting training funded notwithstanding, White recognizes there are limits to what he can get, and his staff is on a shared rotation when it comes to taking courses.

"We adapt," he said.  "We can change on a dime.  I really just think the teamwork we pull together is our biggest attribute."

Mt. Desert's IT Director Mark White has made teamwork his core focus, involving his staff in the decision-making process and treating them like he would want to be treated.



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