Sarah Bush IT team goes above and beyond for clinicians and patients

“Relationships in the organization with IT are positive."
By Anthony Brino
02:36 PM
Sarah Bush Lincoln

Maggie Ratliff came to Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System in the small, eastern Illinois city of Mattoon in 2012 after many years spent in healthcare IT in Missouri, Tennessee and elsewhere. 

But in this rural region, with a staff that matches the Midwest work ethic of the local population, Ratliff is finding she can make more of a difference.

“I had spent most of my career in hospitals that were owned by a larger health system and to get something done was a long complicated process,” Ratliff said. “I wanted to spend the last part of my career in a smaller community hospital where I could really make a difference.”

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The Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System serves the greater Coles County population with the 128-bed regional hospital in Mattoon and numerous clinics and outpatient facilities – a wide service base that has compelled the 30-person IT staff to make sure they visit clinicians outside the hospital to best meet their needs.

“Relationships in the organization with IT are positive,” Ratliff noted. That positive ground is going to be important to continue as the IT team leads an implementation of a new core hospital information system, helps clinicians attest for the second phase of the meaningful use program, and preps for the October 2015 ICD-10 conversion. 

“The role of IT in health are is ever changing,” Ratliff said. “It is my responsibility to guide the strategic review of systems and how they are used to provide quality care to our customers.”

The IT staff has benefited from three directors who lead and manage – Beth Hoedebecke, Brian Murphy and Bob Cudone – and the strategic planning has depended on crafting a shared vision with chief medical information officer Dwight Pentzie, MD, Ratliff said.

“It truly is like one big happy family,” she said. “Everyone is supportive and encouraging and really open to helping their coworkers, and they go above and beyond to care for their customers/patients.” 

In addition to cultivating staffers who can lead, Ratliff said, she tries to attract and instill the practice of working with the perspective of the end users of systems, clinicians, and their patients.

“I just do the best that I can and would not ask anyone to do something that I wouldn't,” she said. “I figure that if I can go home every day with a clean heart and mind, knowing that I did everything to the best of my ability to help the hospital and its customers, then I am OK.” 

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