There’s applicable cross-industry wisdom in a case study informationweek.com has on one hospital network’s incorporation of comprehensive new systems. Partners HealthCare and its predecessor hospitals have been innovators in technology for half a century (back to Mass General’s MUMPS system that has evolved through current use today).
Some of the best practices noted in the article include the CIO working closely with a ‘chief health information officer’ MD executive leader of the new system, with CIO James Noga commenting that he doesn’t “see Partners eCare as an IT initiative at all. We’re just providing enabling technology.”
Noga says, “If you really do it correctly and take on the clinical transformation — that’s really where the expense lies. It’s in the people. It’s not in the hardware, and it’s not in the software.” He estimates that a straight health IT implementation itself could be done for a third of clinical transformation that Partners is undertaking.
Partners is replacing a custom system that it had developed before its capabilities were available on the market, and the firm is looking toward APIs to enable customization going forward. Noga suggests it takes doctors six months to get up to speed on the clinical use of electronic records, and Partners is well beyond that curve: I had a specialist at their Brigham and Women’s hospital gush while showing me their piloted, integrated capabilities as part of the ‘future of medical care’ over a decade ago.
Partners’ rollout of the Epic solution, with database capabilities that trace back to MUMPS, is staged and selective. Partners’ already successful patient portal will not be replaced, but its collections/revenue cycle will be—before the more sensitive, costly, and transformative clinical systems follow.
The case study is a good read with an approach that is applicable across industry sectors today.