Washington Regional Medical Center's masterclass in project management

From ER to OR, imaging to labs, the IT team is all about resilience and resolve, its CIO says.
By Bernie Monegain
06:44 AM
Best Hospital IT Departments

In the past nine months, Washington Regional Medical Center has opened an $80 million, five-floor specialty tower for women, which includes an expanded, Level 2 NICU and, at the same time, it is completing construction of yet another medical office building on campus and a four-story facility to house expanded urgent care. Then there, the newly-expanded outpatient diagnostic imaging, and a new building that will house up to 15 physician practices.

Yes, that portends many projects for the 41-member IT team at the 288-bed hospital in Fayetteville, Arkansas. 

"On top of that," said CIO Becky Magee, there is also just the rollout of a new emergency room module that goes live in two weeks. Not to mention expanding the OR, cath lab and diagnostic imaging.

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"It will be a very complex remodeling project," she added. "The IT team has been very involved in the review of those plans."

The medical center has been buoyed by its Cerner EHR, which it adopted in 2005, and there are no plans to replace it, Magee said. She notes the hospital will abandon its legacy revenue cycle system. The finalists for the work are Cerner and GE Centricity. The contract with one or the other will be signed by year's end.

All of this makes for a heavy workload for the IT team, she acknowledged. But,she knows the team is up to it. The camaraderie and collaboration gets each team member through the challenges.

"They know whoever they're working with has their back – wants to do their best and help his or her colleagues if they need extra help or insight," said Magee, who has been with Washington Regional Medical for 16 years and knows who might be a good fit for the team.

"It's kind of assumed based on their resume that they're coming with skill," she said. "But we look around character and capability – capability meaning their characteristics of trustworthiness or openness, being team-oriented."

Magee said she looks for a candidate to have resilience and resolve – the top two qualities she seeks, in fact

"Being part of an IS team in healthcare,” Magee said, “you had better be resilient.”

The ability to communicate well is also a must-have as she estimates that 80 percent of an IT team member's job is communicating. Part of being resilient, said Magee, is "thinking on your feet, being proactive, being customer-oriented, always being there to be responsive to our end users."

And recognizing outstanding work is always a good move, she said.

"Provide recognition, verbal recognition, congratulations to team members that are just pulling rabbits out of hats as it relates to their daily jobs," she advised. "Celebrate their strengths and capabilities – their resilience."

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Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com

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