We had such a great time attending this year’s MEDITECH CIO forum! Within the first few minutes of the opening remarks, Joel Benware, CIO of Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans, VT had everyone stand up, shake hands and “meet someone new today.” I thought this set the tone for the entire conference since I walked away in awe of how many truly inspiring people I was able to connect with in just two short days. The keynote continued to surprise me as we heard personal stories from Jennifer McKay, MD and MIO of Avera Health and Howard Messing, CEO of MEDITECH. Hearing their thoughts on watching their loved ones with disease and disabilities journey through the healthcare system, and the challenges they face from the other side of the fence, was touching and inspiring. Some may have been wondering how they had the courage to share these intimate life details with a room full of strangers, but after working at MEDITECH for ten years and continuing to work with MEDITECH customers, I knew it was because the MEDITECH community is family, plain and simple.
The keynote continued with an inspiring message from Dave Williams, MD (pictured on the left), now retired President and CEO of Southlake Regional Healthcare in Ontario, and former Astronaut who flew on missions Columbia and Endeavor. There isn’t much that stood in the way of his many. . . many, accomplishments. His chat left me amazed at just how much one person can do in a lifetime.
Attending the education sessions is always my favorite part of the forum as you get to learn about some the challenges MEDITECH customers face and the unique, creative, and brilliant ways they overcome them. First, I attended the VTE Prophylaxis in Medical Inpatients session which was personally interesting to me as I am currently working on a rule driven VTE compliance workflow for our MEDITECH Content package, EnginuITy. This session was led by Brian Blaufeux, MD and CMIO of Northern Westchester Hospital, and the workflow was well researched and thought out; reducing time, clicks and confusion. The presentation later turned to conversation, which reminded me so much of our weekly Operation Nerdywork Focus group meetings. Seeing customers collaborate and share made me want to start up another focus group! Perhaps this time we will tackle the Surveillance/Quality Rules engine so please reach out if you think you’d want to join that conversation!
I later attended an informative session on the Business and Clinical Analytics platform, recently implemented at Magnolia Regional Health Center in Corinth, MS. I have always believed that you cannot improve what you cannot measure and the BCA platform is robust in allowing users to visualize and easily identify lost revenue and workflow bottlenecks. As medical professionals get better at documentation, I am excited to see what role data will play in curing disease and increasing efficiency. Well done, Magnolia!
One of the most interesting sessions I attended was the MEDITECH Rules Session. It wasn’t a surprise to me that this session was a packed house, becoming standing room only just minutes after the hour. I know Rules are a hot topic as my own Rules 101 Webinar is still Galen’s highest attended. The interest alone is what kicked off Operation Nerdywork and Project Claire[IT].
The major takeaways from this session is that MEDITECH will launch a Rules Database (next year, timeline is still unknown) where the rules outlined in their toolkits will be available for download. It will also become a place where customers can upload Rules they have written to share (similar to the reporting database). Although in theory this is a great idea, it comes with the assumption that you have a decent rule writer on staff to update the rule to make it work, and maintain it in the future as these rules are not plug and play.
In speaking with many customers about Rules at the event, it seems to be the consensus that the Rules Engine is not widely used and even less understood. Rule Guru status is only achieved with lots (and LOTS) of trial and error, and fields are not always as they appear. One conversation that really resonated with me was with a MAGIC customer who had a really great report and attribute writer on staff. When asked about optimization initiatives to take advantage of this person’s knowledge they replied that if they made changes now, then they would not be able to support them when that person retired and that it is best to just maintain the status quo. This conversation, and many like it, reinforced that introducing EnginuITy content into your system and letting Galen do the #NerdyWork is something that MEDITECH community needs to continue to grow and that MEDITECH is definitely taking a step in the right direction by starting these conversations about the power of the Rules!
Check out EMR & EHR’s article on The Value of Collaborating with Customers in EMR Optimization
Finally, I was able to chat with Dr. Raef Fahmy, CMIO of Freeman Health in Joplin, MO. Freeman Health is in the midst of implementing EnginuITy and their powerhouse IT staff played a vital role in the focus group content development of many of our tools. Dr. Fahmy is enthusiastic about this project and the outcomes (time reduction, user satisfaction, core measures and revenue) that we hope to improve!
For me, this was a fantastic conference that allowed me to learn more about the future of the MEDITECH EHR, connect with past colleagues, follow-up with former optimization clients like Hilo Medical Center and Androscoggin Valley Hospital, and meet with potential new clients on how they can optimize their systems with minimal effort.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the CIO conference in the comments section! And, as always, we welcome any questions, feel free to contact us below: