A system-wide EHR rollout is no walk in the park. With poor management and implementation plans, it can sap worker morale and deter long-term success. This appears to be what has transpired this week at the Athens Regional Health System in Georgia after staff unanimously voted "no confidence" for the system's CEO, who has effectively announced his resignation.
Staff and clinicians of the health system had reportedly expressed several concerns over the "aggressive" rollout of its Cerner electronic health record
system, which started beginning of May, according to a report
in the Banner-Herald
. The report cited a letter sent to CEO James Thaw, signed by more than a dozen clinicians, recounting cases of medication errors, misplaced orders, "emergency department patients leaving after long waits; and of an inpatient who wasn't seen by a physician for (five) days."
Tammy Gilland, Athens Regional Foundation vice president, confirmed the concerns in a letter sent to foundation volunteers, provided to Banner-Herald. Wrote Gilland in the letter, "The last three weeks have been very challenging for our physicians, nurses and staff."
In a statement to Healthcare IT News, James L. Moore, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Athens Regional, said Thaw's resignation was "not directly related to the EHR rollout."
In terms of what the health system is now doing to allay myriad staff concerns and address the "aggressive" EHR implementation, Moore said, "The staff, physicians, nurses, technicians, board, leadership and Cerner specialists are working together every day to address, prevent, anticipate and correct deficiencies with the EHR implementation and IT conversion."
Added Moore, "We will not let anything undermine the care our patients and staff expect and deserve better."
Moore will be assuming the head post temporarily.