3 health IT success stories

By Michelle McNickle
02:19 PM

It’s easy to get caught up in all the issues associated with new health IT. From non-effective EMRs to mandated practices that cause stress and headaches, the past few years have been tough. But across the country, organizations have seen success by jumping on the bandwagon, and we have their stories to prove it.

From ICD-10 implementation to mobile apps and more, check out three health IT success stories.

1. ICD-10 assessment and implementation. With ICD-10 looming, Rex Healthcare in Raleigh, N.C., was just one of many organizations looking to get a head start on the transition. “We started mid-way through 2010 to structure a program,” said Peyman Zand, director of strategy and governance. “We created a team, and we brought in a firm to do a very high-level education of our staff members, doctors and nurses as well as our management team.” This training included determining what was ICD-10, and what impact it would have on the organization. As a result, Zand and his team looked to conduct a high-level assessment of their top 10 in-house systems. “We have about 400 plus systems in the hospital that we run on a regular basis,” he said. “We did an assessment to determine what it looked like from that view point.”

Rex Healthcare conducted the assessment in October 2010, and shortly after, they sent a request for proposal to several vendors to identify a vendor partner. After narrowing vendors down from 12 to six, and then interviewing three, Rex Healthcare decided on Experis, an organization dedicated to professional resourcing and project-based solutions. “It was a rigorous process,” said Zand. “Experis was engaged in the beginning of 2011.”

And once Experis was onboard, the organization broke its next move down into three steps. It contacted some of its 400 plus vendors and assessed all systems in the hospital. Next, it conducted detailed, one-on-one interviews with all departments in the hospital to discover their work processes and determine how ICD-10 would impact their flow. “This was beyond our health IT systems and medical records department,” said Zand. “It was into our oncology department, surgery department, every single discipline. And as a result of that, we put together a detailed road map, which included a training schedule and other projects we could tackle to remediate and complete our ICD-10 requirements.”

Looking back, Zand said there aren’t many things he or the organization would have done differently. “The only thing I would say is, we could have done some of the education ourselves, and I would have done a request for proposal earlier,” he said. Additionally, Zand said he would of looked to start the project earlier than the end of 2010. “Looking at the rest of the market, though, we still seem to be ahead of the pack.”

And the rest of the market can learn a thing or two from Rex Healthcare’s experience with beginning the ICD-10 implementation process. “We created a clear picture of what we need to undertake,” said Zand. “We have a clear road map, and we’re constructing the teams that need to tackle [our projects].” For example, the organization has a clinical documentation team, a financial revenue cycle team, and a training team. “We have identified about 40 system remediation projects that we’ll be gearing up for as well as [projects] from our acute care side of the house to our EMR system to our financial billing system,” said Zand.  

Zand’s final piece of advice? If you haven’t gotten started on the transition already, now is the time. “That would be the number one thing,” he said. “We found this was a lot more involved, even though we started when we did. Don’t underestimate the work process reengineering that will have to go into effect -- the ICD9 to ICD10 dramatically changes the way providers work, and it will unearth a lot of inefficiencies you have. You need to work through those inefficiencies and reengineering the processes to be more efficient.”

Continued on the next page.