With goals in view, Washington Regional gets going

'We provide strategic foresights and say, "This is where we need to be"'
By Jeff Rowe
02:31 AM

"Putting on your game face." It's when the look on your face says there's just no way you're going to be prevented from achieving your goal.

That phrase comes to mind when Becky Magee, vice president and CIO at Washington Regional Medical System, in Fayetteville, Ark., talks about the members of her IT department who "bring their bedside passion to their desk side role."

She's speaking particularly of those staffers who have transitioned to the IT department from a clinical role, but she says the attitude definitely rubs off on other members, especially new members, at Washington Regional.

"The culture of the information services organization," she says, "is such that everyone understands their role is to help providers give the best care possible."

That emphasis has clearly paid off, as Magee says the biggest challenge her department faces, right now, is figuring out how best to maintain high-level efficiency as demand rapidly increases.

"We're bursting at the seams, patient-wise," she explains, " which leads to constant decisions, staff-wise. How much can we do with what we have? When should we bring someone else on?"

While those and other decisions are ultimately made by management, Magee makes a point of showing her staff the business impact of every step the department takes.

For example, if the analytics point to "a direct correlation between a new application and a reduction in antibiotic costs," or if another improvement clearly results in better clinical outcomes, Magee's staff hears about it."We get very specific," she says, "as these are the metrics that our system gets judged on."

Magee also shows her staff how they measure up to similar systems around the country.

"It's how we inspire them," she says. "We provide strategic foresights and say, 'This is where we need to be.'"

For Magee, part of the payoff for her staff's hard work comes when she meets with her peers from around the country.

"I hear a lot of stories around turnover, and a lot of complaints about backlog," she says.  "And that's when I know how much my staff shines."

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