For Dana Moore, becoming CIO at Centura Health didn’t exactly happen overnight. In fact, he jokes it may have been the world’s longest job interview. But for Moore, who first served as interim CIO, persistence paid off. Almost eight years later, the organization is thriving. In this interview, Moore talks about Centura’s Meditech journey, his goal to achieve Stage 6 recognition for all 13 hospitals in 2013, and what it’s like to build from the ground-up. He also discusses the health neighborhoods initiative that is transforming the way care is practiced in Colorado and helping Centura position itself for the brave new ACO world, the work his organization is doing with HIEs, how he has benefited from his experience in consulting, and why recruiting isn’t a huge challenge for Centura.
- Centura’s stops and starts with EMRs
- Making the case for standardization—“It wasn’t an easy sell.”
- Laying a foundation for future IT initiatives
- From being a consultant in Atlanta to a CIO in Colorado
- Meeting with other CIOs — “We need to use each other as resources.”
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The organization had stops and starts with strategy, especially relating to EMRs. Centura at the time was 12 hospitals acting like 12 different hospitals. So the ability to get things implemented in a standardized, systemized way was very challenging.
There were folks who didn’t quite understand the power of having one record for a patient across the entire enterprise. We’d never had it, so therefore, we weren’t harming people. What’s the value there?
It was the right decision. But when you’re in throes of two young kids saying, ‘I don’t want to move,’ that’s a little difficult.
We share best practices. We reach out to each other in between those meetings to say, ‘I’m struggling with X, Y, Z. Have you had any experience there?’ It is a group of CIOs that are very committed to the people we serve and we find ways to make sure that we deliver the highest quality care from an IT perspective.
You can talk to CIOs in other industries and they just don’t understand some of the challenges we’re facing or the internal pressure we put on ourselves because we know people’s lives are counting on us to make sure that technology is there and available all the time.
Gamble: That’s great, really interesting stuff. I bet the organization leaders looking back are extremely glad they didn’t outsource. That’s such a game changer.
Moore: Yes, it really is. As a matter of fact, the company that we would have outsourced to is no longer even in business. So it was a great decision. I understood how they got there. Unfortunately they had quite a bit of turnover in the CIO position, and I do not blame any of the former CIOs. The organization had stops and starts with strategy, especially relating to EMRs. Centura at the time, with the health system on paper and practice, was 12 hospitals acting like 12 different hospitals. So the ability to get things implemented in a standardized, systemized way was very challenging and it proved difficult. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time — ‘okay, we’ve made a decision. We’re going to put in Meditech. Here’s what we want to do.’
I remember being at dinner with the COO saying, ‘We’re going to put in a standardized system. We’re going to have one CDM. We’re going to do everything standardized. We’re not going to build 12 different builds.’ And he just laughed at me and said, ‘Good luck with that.’ But that’s what we did — we built one database. And what it did for Centura was create a lot of synergy for people working together and sharing best practices. So a lot of other initiatives — for example, health neighborhoods — that have system requirements that we do things in a standardized fashion became easier, because we did a very hard initiative. We implemented Meditech in a standardized fashion and people started working together and it became the norm versus the old way of, ‘I have to call the pharmacy director at the other hospitals and talk that through or the lab director.’ It was a hard thing. Organizationally it was very challenging and certainly expensive, but it I think laid a foundation for us to be able to do a lot of other things in a system-wide fashion.
Gamble: Sure, and it sounds like the type of thing where obviously in the short term, it’s going to be a lot of work. It’s going to be a huge investment. But it probably was fairly easy to sell the idea that in the long term this is going to have so many benefits. But in the short term, it’s not going to be fun.
Moore: I don’t know that it was easy to sell, to be honest. I can remember the kickoff meeting and talking through it. There were people that got it but had a skeptical eye and there were the folks that said, ‘Yeah I’ll do it standardized, as long as that means I do it my way.’ And then I think there were folks who didn’t quite understand the power of having one record for a patient across the entire enterprise. We’d never had it, so therefore, we weren’t harming people. What’s the value there?
I also don’t think people — any of us, including myself — understood how much crossover we have around the state. When we bring sites live, the story I always tell is that we brought our hospital up in the mountains in the ski area on Meditech for the first go-live — South Denver Hospital was already live. And so we had a patient from where I lived in Parker, Colo. who was lives up in the mountains and presented at the emergency room with abdominal pain. The physician opens a record and realizes they had surgery at Parker two weeks prior and came to the command center and said, ‘Wow. It really allowed me to zero in and call the surgeon and know what was going on with that patient versus starting all these questions and answers with the patient and trying to figure out why they’re having abdominal pain.’ We have thousands of stories like that now. But I think it took people seeing it to comprehend what all the benefits would be.
Gamble: Yeah, I’m sure. It makes sense. As soon as you get a couple of people who can see those benefits, then maybe they’re able to spread the word about the practical benefits of it.
Gamble: So it was for a couple years that you were doing consulting?
Moore: For Centura, yes. I did consulting from 2001 to 2005 when I became an employee. I started consulting in the mid to late 90s, but with other clients obviously.
Gamble: And was it a lot of travel?
Moore: A lot of travel. That wears thin. And with having two children and seeing them on weekends, I felt like the absent dad. But as I have said to people, I had other opportunities to get off the road and stop traveling. There is something special about Centura, and everyone who works here says the same thing. I’ve been to lots of hospitals and healthcare systems through my years of work and there’s something special here.
Gamble: It seems like there definitely is. And like you said, it doesn’t hurt that you’re based in Colorado, which is a beautiful state.
Moore: Yeah, that’s an added bonus.
Gamble: When you did take the Centura job, where had you been based before then?
Moore: Atlanta. We had lived in Atlanta for 10 years.
Gamble: Was your family happy about the move? Did they adjust pretty well?
Moore: They did. Going home and telling my two kids that okay, this place that you’ve known as home your life? We’re going to move. They weren’t real happy, and I remember bringing them out the first time we did some house hunting. They were just in the back of the realtor’s car, glaring at me. But it’s funny because I’ve asked them both now — my daughter’s now in college and my son’s a junior in high school — ‘You’ve been here, what do you think?’ And they both say, ‘Glad we moved. It was great that you got to be home, but we love it here.’ This was a great move. It was the right decision. But when you’re in throes of two young kids saying, ‘I don’t want to move,’ that’s a little difficult. But as parents, you know what’s best in the long run, and you just have to sort through it.
Gamble: Yeah, I’m sure. We moved as a kid. I didn’t regret it, but I’m sure my parents felt bad at the time.
Gamble: Well this has been great, a lot of really interesting stuff that you’re doing. I just wanted to see if there’s anything we missed or anything else you wanted to talk about, either in terms of what you’re doing or what’s going on in the industry.
Moore: I think the industry right now is in an interesting time. One of the things I really appreciate about Colorado is the CIOs of the other healthcare systems here. We meet on a regular basis. We try and have a face-to-face meeting every other month on a Friday afternoon. We collaborate on things like CORHIO and CTN. We share best practices. We reach out to each other in between those meetings to say, ‘I’m struggling with X, Y, Z. Have you had any experience there?’ It is a group of CIOs that are very committed to the people we serve and we find ways to make sure that we deliver the highest quality care from an IT perspective.
And we’re on different platforms — many of them are on Epic. But there’s so much that it really doesn’t matter the platform you’re on. It’s how you solved a certain problem. I don’t know that many other states have that kind of collaboration like we have in Colorado; that ability to pick up the phone or send out an email to a bunch of your peers and get an immediate response. But if you don’t, try and create it, because it really makes life a lot easier to know that everyone’s trying work in the same direction and is supportive of each other. Because it’s unique. You can talk to CIOs in other industries and they just don’t understand some of the challenges we’re facing or the internal pressure we put on ourselves because we know people’s lives are counting on us to make sure that technology is there and available all the time. So it’s nice to have people right down the street that you can go talk to.
Gamble: That’s impressive that you guys are able to do that, and I’m sure that everybody gets so much value out of it.
Moore: We do. We all comment on it.
Gamble: All right. Well, I’m sure we can go on for a while more because there is so much going on and so much to talk about, but I don’t want to take up any more of your time for now. Thank you so much for giving us the time, I appreciate it.
Moore: All right, thank you. Have a nice week.
Gamble: Thanks, you too.