A CIO's guide: Building the right IT team for a successful EHR go-live

An electronic medical record implementation requires accuracy and precision. And making that happen demands a variety of skillsets, professional backgrounds and expertise. Here’s what worked for Penn Medicine. 
By Mike Restuccia
02:27 AM
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In the world of healthcare IT rarely is one person or small group of individuals able to complete the entire value chain of delivering IT solutions that properly define operational requirements and workflows and translate these needs into technical programs or application builds. A variety of backgrounds are needed including input from people with diverse and unique expertise that lie in different areas of the organization. As a result, comprehensive teamwork is essentially required to successfully launch and deploy projects that result in ongoing improvement in patient care, advancements in research and overall operational efficiency. 

So what are some of the specific essential components of building the right team to ensure success in an environment that requires absolute preciseness and accuracy? 

[Also: Epic deployment at Penn Medicine continues success with training, optimization]

Based upon my healthcare organization’s successful deployment of an integrated electronic medical record throughout the ambulatory, inpatient and homecare environments, the following are some elements that delivered optimal results via an integrated teamwork approach:

People: Recruiting the right people into the right roles is the number one starting point to begin an initiative. Clearly communicating each person’s role on a project accents the defined contribution expected from each participant. In our organization, we focus heavily on selecting people who exude energy, have a positive attitude and demonstrate a proven record of aptitude in their specific area of expertise.

Chemistry: Blending operational and information services personnel together is a critical component needed to collaborate and most effectively evaluate all required application functionality for delivery.

Project Leadership: Guiding the project and removing barriers from issues ensures that staff level employees can be successful in their role.

Process: Using a tried and proven methodology with agreed upon milestones binds the various teams together and aligns goals and tasks for execution.

Culture: Building an environment to foster recognition that we are all in this together results in developing respect for one another. This aspect is paramount to gaining positive momentum in working as a highly functioning team. No “drama” is tolerated.

Enterprise Leadership: Working with other leaders throughout the organization ensures proper staffing, goal setting and achievement of set objectives.

In a healthcare environment — which is characterized by continuous change, increased transparency and a wide variety of diverse accountabilities — the need for a solid, mission oriented team has never been greater. Organizations that have invested in using the integrated team approach are recognizing the benefits of their investment by more readily enabling their business objectives. And these organizations are better prepared for the next wave of challenges.

The journey on the road to achieve the many benefits of healthcare IT is long and winding, but the need for comprehensive teamwork along the way will always be vital to achieving success.

Mike Restuccia is the CIO of Penn Medicine