Vision and Value-Driven EHR Optimization: A Leadership Interview

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By CereCore | Oct 6, 2023

4 minute read MEDITECH| EHR/EMR| Blog| Client Perspectives

The need to optimize is part of the EMR implementation process explains Cory Lane, director of operations at OakLeaf Surgical Hospital during a podcast interview with Phil Sobol, vice president of business development. She dives into topics such as: 

  • How processes and collaboration fuel optimization efforts on the heels of their MEDITECH Expanse go-live 
  • Why project management, partnership, and cross-departmental engagement are critical for a successful go-live and optimization 
  • Practical examples of how they are staying true to their vision for getting more out of their EMR from improved data analytics, workflows and user experience 

Sobol: What are operational must haves that an organization like yours – an outpatient surgery hospital — needs when it comes to technology and an EHR.  

Lane: It is critical. We found that we had maxed out our prior system and we needed more from it. We needed to be able to provide our physicians with more information in their documentation. We had a very hybrid system — some electronic and some paper based. That in itself caused inefficiencies. We were scanning things in and then promptly printing them back out for care. We wanted to make sure we could sustain for the future and maybe save some paper along the way.  

What was of huge importance for us was to provide documentation and the flow of clinical information for the patient from the start of the stay all the way through discharge and beyond. And, that the physicians and nurses alike had access to information in an efficient way. 

Sobol: What was top of mind for you with such a big technology change?  

Lane: All three parties [CereCore, Surgery Partners and OakLeaf] were very much needed so everyone had their role. At the local level and on site, we had the vision. We knew what we wanted, we knew what our shortfalls were, and we knew what we wanted to improve on. 

Our CereCore partners came in with great knowledge. We ended up having three project managers: one from CereCore, one from Surgery Partners, and then myself. Ultimately, they were all needed because every single aspect of the project had the right attention.  

Sobol: What you stated cannot be overlooked. So many times, people say “Oh, well, we have a project manager.” Sometimes folks do not quite understand how complex these projects really are, how many people are touched, how many folks are influenced.  Organizations do themselves a bit of a disservice when they do not resource them properly.  

Lane: Right, especially when you throw in third party vendors, all the testing, and everything that goes along with that.  

Sobol: In the context of journeys, you start with implementations. Talk about the value of partnership, not only in the context of the implementation, but from an ongoing standpoint. 

Lane: Surgery Partners and those of us onsite — we don't want to take our foot off the gas because we had an amazingly successful implementation. We want to look at things that we thought would work wonderfully, but maybe don't. We are committed to optimize. 

We want to make sure everything is doing what we intended. Patient safety is of utmost concern and we look at everything under that lens. As we are reviewing workflows our nurses are totally engaged.  

Everyone from our clinical staff right up through our CEO have been completely engaged and that's what made us successful.  

Sobol: A lot of times people get go live fatigue. Do you have any insights for folks as far as what the meeting cadence should look like? Any guidance for incentives to keep that momentum moving? 

Lane: I think it's about empowering people — the end users — to speak up. Let them know that we don't take it personally. Just because I built it doesn't mean that I'm offended when it doesn't work. Try to create a welcoming environment to share frustrations and concerns. 

Plus, we are open and honest that this is all a part of it. This is what we expected. We want people to feel comfortable to come and share their ideas with their peers and troubleshoot together.  

We've found great value in that. We might not realize the impact of something someone in pre-op is doing. And how someone later down the flow of the patient actually uses that information, which makes all of us understand the “why” behind what we're doing. 

Sobol: What are those top things you would like listeners to know about how IT works with the rest of the organization? 

Lane: My best word of advice for anyone is to advocate for yourselves. We came in with the vision and the hospital knew exactly what we wanted and that wasn't always easy to achieve. I don't like to take “no” for an answer so how can I accomplish this a different way. 

That's takes a lot of work and energy, but in the end, you get a product that works for your type of practice and your clinicians, and ultimately your patients. We didn't like to give up on the details. We are going have to creatively think of a different way to handle this because this is important to us.  

We ultimately always come to the right answer and using our partners as our advocates as well and working with them. 

Stream the full episode 

Listen to the full conversation with Cory Lane as she covers more detail and examples of working with partners during an implementation, how to set your healthcare organization up for success from beginning of the implementation, through training and optimization. 

Find resources about optimization 

Consider an EHR assessment to find areas ripe for optimization.

Download more podcast episodes

Hear perspectives from other healthcare leaders on The CereCore Podcast:

Liverpool Women's CIO on the EPR Implementation Journey

Matt Connor, Chief Information Officer at Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust


A CEO's Experience: What an EHR Technology Change Really Needs for Success

Anne Hargrave-Thomas, Chief Executive Officer at OakLeaf Surgical Hospital and Vice President of Operations at Surgery Partners


The Promise of Technology and On-the-Go Patient Care

Kevin McDonald, Chief Information Officer at HCA Healthcare’s South Atlantic division


Healthcare CIO Advice on Leading Through the Complexities of Change

Al Smith, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Lifepoint Health


Big Healthcare IT Transitions Deliver ROI and Physician Satisfaction

Richard “Rick” Keller, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Ardent Health Services 


A Physician’s Perspective: Bridging the EHR, Healthcare IT, and the PAC

L. Austin Fredrickson, MD, Board Certified, General Internist at Salem Regional Medical Center 


A Look Back: Decisions that Led to a Unified EHR with MEDITECH Expanse

Thomas Kurtz, Ph.D., Chief Administrative Officer at Memorial Healthcare 


Scaling an IT Department to Support Growth (and Why Managed Services Makes Sense)

Varun Gadhok, Chief Information Officer at Surgery Partners


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