Intermountain claims top spot for second year in a row


A short walk from Intermountain Medical Center sits the Homer Warner Center for Informatics Research, home to 60 informaticists following in the trail-blazing footsteps of their namesake.

Many of the hospital's 5,000 employees don't have a clue that the HWCIR is there, even though they are likely touched by the center's innovations in their daily work.

"Many of them don't know what a tremendous resource we have here on our campus," said David Grauer, administrator and CEO of Intermountain Medical Center, the system's flagship hospital. "But those who do, understand and appreciate the work they do."

Working for an institution receiving national recognition and with plenty of success stories to its name – such as a new sepsis protocol that's become a leader nationwide – is a big part of why Intermountain earned the top spot among large hospitals in the "Where to Work: BEST Hospital IT Departments" program for the second year in a row.

"It's an absolute dedication to using technology to improve the provision of care," says Marc Probst, Intermountain's CIO. "They know their work is involved in saving many people's lives. Much like a doctor, they have a similar passion."

The Homer Warner Center for Informatics research (HWCIR) has grown quickly since it opened in February of 2011. It's already tight on space, but new programs that allow work-at-home arrangements are alleviating the constraints while giving employees more flexibility.

Kira Wagner is a quality assurance and outreach analyst for the HWCIR, and she's one of those who was drawn by its appealing work environment when she graduated from Utah State University in 2011.

"It's a very supportive environment," said Wagner. "I have a lot of mentors here who say: 'I'd like to help you learn and grow.'"

Wagner is an example of the exceptional talent the HCWIR is able to attract because of its reputation. When it comes to employees, Probst has specific characteristics in mind.

"Very smart. They are going to be working with very smart people, and if they can't keep up they will become very frustrated," he said. "They need to know technology, but be clinically focused."

The center has grown quickly since it opened in February of 2011, and is already tight on space. New programs to allow work-at-home arrangements are alleviating space constraints while giving employees more flexibility.

"What we didn't do is just say, 'Well, if you want to work at home then you can,'" says Probst. "After a year and a half, productivity is where we want it, and we have some happy individuals who are working in that fashion."

While the HWCIR may not be a recognized name among Intermountain's rank-and-file, the center's employees connect intimately with the patient care being provided just down the walkway.

"There are folks in any industry who work in cubicles all day and never make the connection between what they do and the end product or service," said Grauer. "They can make that connection to patients pretty quickly and easily, and that's part of what makes it such a great place to work."


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