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Go Live is Getting Closer! September 20, 2010

Posted by Darla in Adventures.
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Just two weeks until GO LIVE with two of the three software systems we are implementing!

We first met with ePartners/Great Plains the week of January 25, 2010. What a ride it has been with them as we collected data and learned their system. Great Plains is financial software that includes payroll, accounts payable, materials management and general ledger.

The highest impact seems to be for materials management. With a computerized inventory and a new computerized requisitioning system in place, there will be no more swinging by the supply room and jotting down our “purchases” on the yellow legal pad. This new inventory system also affects the supplies used by the nursing staff for patient care. Nurses will use a bar code scanner to add supply items to patient charts.

Another huge change effects the time and attendance arena. Our software partner there, emPower, had to write a plethora of rules to govern the way employees at Syringa account for time, overtime, call back time, shift differentials, and more. Using the biometric time clocks – with a finger tip scan – took some getting used to, and some of us (myself included!) still struggle with getting our time right each week.

For the past several months we have been running side by side tests of the new emPower software and our old hand written time sheets. Many employees will continue to record their time on paper for a few months, to insure that the time clocks are working correctly.

In nine short weeks we will begin to use Cerner Millennium for patient care and billing tasks. This change is significant because we are moving from paper to computerized/electronic medical records. Not only do we have new technology to learn to use efficiently, but we also have new processes, procedures, and ways of thinking about how we do patient care to consider as well. For those who have provided patient care with pencils and paper for decades, this change might be the most difficult to master.

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The Last If Only … September 13, 2010

Posted by Darla in Adventures.
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Our Cerner implementation team is calling this week’s visit a “system review.” They hope to assess where they are with building the system and develop a plan to move us forward to a successful Go Live in December.

As the Project Manager for Syringa, I feel a keen responsibility for this delay. If only I had only listened to what the White Rabbit was actually saying in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland before Alice followed him down the rabbit hole.

Remember what he was muttering? And how remarkable Alice found it?

“Oh, dear! Oh, dear! I shall be too late!”

If only I had only understood how that phrase would play out over time! If only I had heeded the warning that the Cerner White Rabbit was running late! Even after landing with both feet into Wonderland, the Rabbit continued to worry about the time, saying “Oh, my ears and whiskers, how late it’s getting!”

If only

In all fairness, we’ve been busy with many other adventures endemic to implementing EHR. We have gathered documents, analyzed processes and procedures, conversed with one another, purchased equipment, determined rules, learned new syntax, trained ourselves and staff, and welcomed change into the organization.

So, while we followed a habitually late rabbit into EHR implementation, we are a better health care facility. And by the time we Go Live in December, we will be even more prepared for the new technology. Our system will be more robust, our employees better trained, our patients in the best possible hands.

The Work of Believing September 7, 2010

Posted by Darla in Adventures.
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Are we Mad as Hatters to believe six impossible things before breakfast?

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast,” said the White Queen to Alice in Through the Looking Glass. She went on to explain that believing often requires work, sometimes as much as “half an hour a day.”

I loved this quote even before adventuring into EHR Land. It reflects my own experience that believing – call it imagination, optimism or even faith – requires daily practice and plenty of work, similar to going to the gym to practice good health.

What does this have to do with implementing EHR in Idaho? I’m not certain, but I compiled a list of things I believe about Syringa’s EHR implementation project. What additional items would you add to the list?

  • Implementing EHR will provide Syringa tools necessary to fulfill its mission of improving the health of residents in Idaho County.
  • Patients will have at their disposal tools (the EHR system) to become proactive in caring for their health and making decisions about their health care.
  • Syringa’s health care providers and employees are eager to embrace this new technology.
  • Our Cerner EHR implementation team has the expertise and ability to develop the best system for Syringa.

We recently hit a bump in the road which required us to change our GO LIVE date with Cerner to December 1, 2010. We are on track to go live with our other partners: ePartners (the financial, payroll and materials management side of the makeover) and emPower (time and attendance) on October 1, 2010, and so we will.

Postponing the Cerner Go Live gives us further opportunity to test and retest system to make certain that the rules for Critical Access Hospitals in Idaho are built to perfection. The plethora and complexity of these rules continues to astound our solution architects; they must be tired of hearing from us that, “we don’t make the rules; we just play by them!”

Call me Mad As a Hatter, but now I’m practicing believing another new thing before breakfast: That this Cerner implementation at Syringa Hospital and Clinics in Grangeville, Idaho, will be the single most successful implementation in Cerner’s history.

Why do I believe that? Because we have the talent and excitement of our employees, the dedication of our leaders and board, and the support of our patients. Those three things guarantee a successful effort.