Davies goes to Multicare

By Bernie Monegain
11:06 AM

The team at MultiCare Health System was not exactly going for the prize when it completed its application for the 2009 HIMSS Davies Award. For them, it was all about the process. The goal was to learn and improve.

“We just actually wanted to go through a process for a third-party who had done this in the past to really come into our organization to take a look at what we have accomplished and perhaps also share some of the best practices from other organizations,” said Florence Chang, CIO.

As Chang puts it: “To put in a mirror right in front of us to see what we did well and what we can do better.”

As it turns out, Chang and other members of the MultiCare team are sharing their experience and best practices in EHR implementation and use at HIMSS10, and taking home the Davies Organizational Award.

MultiCare Health System is an integrated not-for-profit organization in Tacoma, Wash. with four hospitals, including a children’s hospital, primary and urgent care clinics, home health and hospice programs serving four counties.

The health system has used software from Epic Systems (MultiCare call it MultiCare Connect) in its ambulatory clinics since 2001. In 2005, MultiCare began to pursue its goal of “one patient, one record, and it again turned to Epic for an enterprise-wide EHR.

During the site visit when the HIMSS team interviewed the staff, it gave the staff a sense of pride in what had been accomplished, Chang said, “And, for them to tell other folks our success story, it just reinforced their effort, their dedication to focus on how we take care of patients on a day-to-day perspective.

“This is an organizational-wide endeavor,” said Matthew Eisenberg, MD, director of information services at MultiCare. “Everybody lived and breathed for quite some time, particularly as we moved into the inpatient world.”
A team of four HIMSS executives traveled to Tacoma, Wash. during the last week of August for the site visit – an event that proved exciting for everyone at MultiCare.

“The experience for us gave us a chance to pause and consider how much we’d accomplished, what we had done and how we had done it together,” Eisenberg said.  “And, that energy that we had during the visit was really a moment of pride for us. We’re thrilled to have the award, but I think for a lot of us would have just for the experience of the visit gone through the process.”

“The recipients of the HIMSS Davies Award are leaders in EHR implementation as they prove that technology can be leveraged to produce value and achieve patient safety and quality outcomes with a positive ROI,” said DavidCollins, HIMSS director, healthcare information systems.

From the very beginning, Chang said, the IS team made it clear to all that the improvements they were taking on was not an IS project, but rather an enterprise one.

Chang gives credit to CEO Diane Cecchettini for leading the charge for the entire organization.  Cecchettini and Chang are the executive sponsors of the project.

Eisenberg commended the medical staff for its leadership, both the employed and affiliated physicians, many of whom became “super users”

The site team singled out MultiCare’s pediatric ICU and its pediatric oncology department for excellence.

“Those two departments were so successful because of the physician leadership from those two groups,” Chang said. “They literally designed the system with us from the very beginning and they were involved in the day-today problem solving.”