Virginia Hospital Center's secret to a smooth Epic EHR rollout: Staff satisfaction

Staying focused on both patients and employees has made its EHR project not only easier, but enjoyable, too.
By Jessica Davis
06:55 AM
Best Hospital IT Department 2017

Most organizations understand that rolling out a new EHR is no easy undertaking. All avenues must be considered before the initiative can even break ground: C-suite approval, market options and budget, to name just a few.

But one crucial aspect is getting employees to embrace a project, as those are who’ll use the EHR on a regular basis. And Virginia Hospital Center, based in Arlington, Virginia, knows firsthand how much simpler a project of that scope can be when staff is on board.

"We’re in the middle of an implementation of Epic, so we try to be fair to employees," said Virginia Hospital Center CIO Michael Mistretta. "Although we ask a lot of them, we give back. Our success is built around them, and we reward them. We’re fortunate here that our entire organization is on the same page. Our clinicians are pushing us to get it going. It makes it easier to not have opposing forces: It makes it pretty enjoyable, actually."

The hospital made the decision to upgrade its clinical system two years ago, as it had a mish-mash of technology, said Mistretta. The idea for the Epic project is to create a more homogenous platform at the point-of-care and minimize the number of vendors the hospital uses. 

"From an employee perspective, it allows them to focus on what we need to do for the patient," Mistretta added.

Virginia Hospital Center is replacing its surgical system, emergency department, core EMR and patient financials.

"It’s a pretty large undertaking," said Mistretta. "In the end, we’re looking forward to it."

And to be named a Best Hospital IT Department in the midst of such an undertaking, speaks volumes to the skill and right focus of the IT team.

"You need to be close to your frontline people," said Mistretta. "It’s great to have a good leadership team because they make you look good. But to find success, you need to have access to those who are actually doing the work on the ground level. Any information you can gain from them and pass onto the team, the better decisions you’ll make for your organization.”

Best hospital IT departments: 2017

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Click here to learn more about how we chose this year's winners.

Twitter: @JessieFDavis
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