On the Gulf Coast, Springhill shines

Springhill IT staffers are always ready to exceed expectations.
By Bernie Monegain
02:34 PM

Springhill Medical Center is one of five hospitals operating in a city that is steeped in history and a beauty that comes not only from its historic architecture, its art and music, but also from its location on the Gulf Coast. 

"It's a beautiful place to live," says Mark Kilborn, who's worked as CIO at Springhill for 14 years. He began his stint at the 252-bed hospital after 40 years in health IT. He was ready to retire when Springhill recruited him. Today, he oversees a 26-member IT staff that – to hear him tell it – is like no other.

"These folks really embrace technology, and they see the value in it and how it can help improve patient outcomes, and the bottom line, as well," he said.

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As Kilborn sees it, Springhill IT staffers are always ready to exceed expectations.

"I think it's because they know their role in the delivery of healthcare," he says. "That's one thing that I think some IT departments don't realize. They are a part of the delivery of healthcare."

They know they are not on the frontlines, he adds. They do not substitute for the caregivers, but they recognize their IT support is critical to patient care, and that's especially important in a hospital that is at 100 percent CPOE and paperless. The clinical staff is highly dependent on the technology working smoothly day in and day out.

"They are passionate about it," Kilborn says. "A lot of folks on the staff have a healthcare background. So, they got in this business to help people. We just have the right people here with the right mindset – people who like to excel and want to make the most out of what they can." He describes his staff as the "most dedicated, sharpest, most enjoyable group of people I've ever worked with."

Springhill rolled out its Allscripts EHR back in 2003 before it became "cool" to go digital, notes Kilborn. It was a critical equalizer in a region where there are nine hospitals operated by five healthcare providers.

Allscripts brings many of it prospective clients to Springhill to help close deals. The hospital has hosted people from almost every state in the union, from five provinces in Canada and from Singapore.

It helps to have a top staff because the demands are high, especially when it comes to meaningful use and security, according to Kilborn. Springhill began collecting data July 1 in order to attest to meaningful use Stage 2. While Kilborn understands the pluses of meaningful use, he also recognizes the many challenges for both clinical and technology staffs.

When it comes to security, the challenges often seem daunting.

"The government, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, NASA, they've all had their websites hacked over the years," Kilborn said,  "They've gotten money the likes of which I've never seen to throw at security, and they have the brightest minds in the world. So, it really is concerning that we are held to such a high degree of security, and keeping people out when the government can't even do it with their own system."

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