IT Takes A Village

Sue Schade, CIO, University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers

Sue Schade, CIO, University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers

Like many health care provider organizations, the University of Michigan Health System is rolling out a new integrated electronic health record — a program we call MiChart. In just three days, we will be flipping the switch for the inpatient modules at our three hospitals with nearly 1,000 beds. The inpatient modules will be fully integrated with the ambulatory and revenue cycle modules we have already implemented. This is a big deal. To give you an idea of just how big, we have trained 14,000 people to use the new system in the last two months.

The phrase “It takes a village” certainly comes to mind.

Hundreds of people will be on hand during the go-live to support users and address problems; 150 application and technical support staff will be ready at a command center. We have 1,300 “super users” and 450 “at the elbow” support staff. This includes over 200 student interns we have trained during the past month to provide end user support. It will be valuable, real-world experience for them.

A lot of people have been working on this inpatient stage of MiChart for well over a year. The project team includes hundreds of IT and hospital staff. We have worked closely with our software vendor, Epic, and our implementation partner, Deloitte. Representatives of all major clinical and administrative areas have been part of project governance and structured decision making. MCAN (the MiChart Change Adoption Network) is our formal change management program with over 500 members attending regular forums.

We have been learning from colleagues, especially those from our peer academic medical centers. They went before us and we will gladly share lessons with others yet to come. We have been active in the Epic Michigan User Group (eMUG) with the 10 other health systems in the state on Epic. Health care is a competitive environment, but when it comes to improving patient care through technology, we rise above that competition.

Since last October, whenever people anticipate a new IT system, they ask, “Do we have another HealthCare.gov here?” In the coming weeks, I hope to never hear that question!

We’ve had ups and downs during the project and have tracked all the issues closely. The actual activation will be no different. There will be issues and, yes, there will be some frayed nerves. But the issues will be triaged, prioritized, resolved and communicated in an orderly manner. The nerves will be calmed as team members support one another.

In three days and counting, we will be focused on making sure that clinicians and ancillary staff know how to use MiChart, and are fully able to do what we at Michigan do so well every day — provide safe, quality care for our patients.

Our village is ready.

[This piece was originally published on Sue Schade’s blog, Health IT Connect. To view the original post, click here. Follow her on Twitter at @sgschade.]

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