United Regional prizes workplace balance

Core philosophy of valuing employees shines through in ‘a place where I belong’
By Frank Irving
02:55 PM
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United Regional

United Regional Health Care System provides comprehensive medical care, advanced diagnostics, surgical specialties and emergency care to a nine-county service area. It has the area’s only level II trauma center and serves as the primary stroke center for the region.

The 19-person IT department, headed by Dwayne McKee, director of clinical informatics and business intelligence, handles implementation of all clinical and financial systems for the 275-bed organization. In fact, most members of the department have some level of clinical experience or exposure.

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"They're working in the background, configuring systems and making system changes, but they approach everything from the mindset of how we can provide better quality and safer care to our patients," explained McKee. "They consider how a project is going to impact patient care, and how is it going to impact the caregiver."

A current priority is collecting data needed to attest for Stage 2 meaningful use under CMS' EHR incentive program.

"We try to focus on what's important to the overall organization,” said McKee. “We assess and prioritize projects based on their impact for achieving the system’s strategic goals and objectives.”

“Our passion is to provide excellence in healthcare for the communities we serve,” said Nancy Townley, senior vice president and chief operating officer. “Robust information systems are vital to all aspects of our operations. Clinical information systems help us provide the highest quality patient care, and integrated with data from our financial systems, help us improve the value of services for our patients.”

On a daily basis, teamwork and a willingness to help each other when needed is key to the group's success, according to Bessie Hitch, RN, clinical informatics analyst.

"Our department is made up of people with very different areas of expertise and varying years of experience,” she says. “This diversity ­– along with a close relationship with administration and physicians – allows a creative environment to focus on patient needs."

It's a fast-paced, dynamic workplace, but one with a core philosophy of valuing employees.

"We all understand that we have a job to do, and we do it to the best of our abilities,” said McKee. “But at the same time we understand that there are other events in life that sometimes take precedence, whether that's a graduation, the birth of a grandchild, whatever it might be. We recognize and celebrate those events – and we share in illnesses and tragedies and support each other to help them get through those hard times."

"With a work environment of, 'It feels like home and that I belong', how could we go wrong?" asked Hitch.

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