The Rural Hospital that Can !

The Rural Hospital that Can !

A 276-bed, state-funded “safety net” hospital with over 70 percent Medicare/Medicaid payer mixing the center of the Pacific doesn't exactly scream “perfect environment” to possess a totally adopted and integrated electronic health record system.

“But we asked the question, ‘Why not us?’” said Money Atwal, who was actually hired in 2007 because the Chief Information Officer for the East Hawaii Region of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation and have become the Chief Treasurer subsequently that very same year.

Atwal, who was previously at a way larger facility Queens’s center on Oahu, began the seemingly insurmountable challenge of being the primary hospital to determine an EHR in Hawaii’s state hospital system. He was appointed with the backing of the East Hawaii Regional Board and a modest budget of around $5 million.

Assembling the Team

Hiring a military of EMR consultants wasn't within the budget. Out of the 1,100 employees at Hilo center (HMC), Atwal had to seek out exceptionally skilled, courageous and optimistic EHR champions to make the Health Connect team. Since the interior team didn't have any prior EHR project management or implementation experience, he supplemented the Health Connect team with just a couple of external resources.

“Not having a sizeable allow outside consultants actually worked in our favor,” said Atwal. “We utilized our in-house data system personnel and selected highly skilled nurses and department managers who were the foremost intimate their units’ and departments’ operations. This was the inspiration of our Health Connect team. They were challenged to create a system that was user-friendly and provided a benefit to patient care and monetary management.”

“We had to settle on champions who believed within the project and will envision that the overhaul of the hospital would cause better patient outcomes for the community and healthier finances for the hospital,” added Atwal. “Many members of our core team had never used an electronic medical history, including building a system before. I knew I used to be asking tons of my team, but I trusted them to finish this project.”

Prioritizing Goals

The limited budget also forced Atwal and therefore the team to prioritize goals within the project.

Healthcare is hit or miss business and that we are anticipating and trying to stay aware of the changes occurring within the industry.

“We had to ascertain what we would have liked to try to first because we couldn’t roll in the hay all at just one occasion,” recalled Atwal. “We also had to try to whatever we prioritized extremely well so we could advance to subsequent priority, efficiently and without added cost. First, the Health Connect team needed to create a solid foundation at Hilo center.

“We knew if we didn’t build the EHR right at HMC before moving on to our clinics and other facilities, we might have wasted tons of your time and money to backtrack,” said Atwal, referring to achieving EHR at the 21-bed and 76-bed dexterities within the acute rural towns of Kau and Honokaa. “Once we got HMC up and running, my team hit every deadline and milestone.”

With the approval and full support of the East Hawaii Region Board, HMC implemented the MEDITECH 6.0x Financial, Budget & Forecasting, accountancy, and provide Chain Management systems. This is able to further integrate the hospital financial operations and provides management unprecedented integrated analytical data repository of business intelligence.

Fully Integrated with Hilo, Hawaii!

Back in 2008, Barack Obama proposed motivating EMR adoptions during his Presidential campaign. When his proposal materialized within the sort of the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and offered up $50 billion over five years, the likelihood of obtaining any piece of that pie felt as far out of reach because of the 5,000 miles between Washington, DC, and Hawaii. This plan was meant for the “big” hospitals, not for this tiny hospital in Hilo. Or was it?

Hilo Medical Center’s early adoption and optimization of the MEDITECH 6.0x system in 2010 has strengthened systems to make sure patient safety, quality of care and monetary performance within the East Hawaii Region. The Region is now capable of calculating costs and monitoring revenue and expenses, leading to improving the time it takes to supply patient bills from 12 to five days and reducing the amount of your time payments are received from 100 to 52 days.

The protest of first implementing the EHR in 2009 and allowing the $5 million was met by the Health Connect team. By the top of 2014, the team attested to Meaningful Use 1 and a couple of requirements and achieved HIMSS Stage 7 which resulted in recouping approximately $5 million in federal funds.

“Having a totally adopted EHR and obtaining HIMSS Stage 7 puts us among the highest 2.9% of hospital systems across the country – a rare achievement that I'm proud to share with my team,” said Atwal and therefore the team celebrated the achievement in 2014. “I would really like to thank our employees, physician champions and physician leadership for his or her diligence and commitment.” 

“The CIO 100 recognition means we are reaching our organizational goals of working smarter to enhance our community’s health with the dollars we've,” said Atwal. “I would really like to thank my team for his or her trust and dedication over the past four, five years of implementing an EHR system and technology that employment.”

This past August, HIMSS bestowed its highest honor, the Davies Award of Excellence, to Hilo center because the first “safety net” hospital to receive the award for its ability to utilize the EHR to profit patient care and improve fiscal management.

“We are constantly trying to find ways to maximize our EHR,” said Atwal, citing his weekly team meetings to deal with issues that will have surfaced within the previous week. “Healthcare such is hit or miss business. We must anticipate and remain aware of the changes occurring within the industry. Our loved ones and community depend upon us.


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