Welcome back to Optimum Healthcare IT’s “4 Questions with…” series, where we interview top executives in the Healthcare IT space. We search for the leaders with track records of service excellence, who are passionate about their work and make patient safety their top priority. In this installment, we have four questions for Dennis Delisle, Senior Director, Operations at Jefferson Health.
Dennis Delisle: Jefferson had myriad systems supporting its inpatient, outpatient, ancillary, and revenue cycle areas. The disparity of those systems became the burning platform to consolidate to a single EHR. Additionally, healthcare’s shift to a pay-for-performance, value-based model has created the imperative for seamless information sharing and transparency. Senior leadership determined that we needed a system that could integrate across care settings, feed the revenue cycle, and produce data, analytics, and insights to continue driving strategy and operations. The organization went through a robust vendor selection process to ensure its key needs and priorities would be met. It is important to have these types of decisions in place for a smooth transition when beginning any EHR journey.
Dennis Delisle: Technology, like an EHR, enables improvement. But those tools alone are not sufficient to drive clinical quality outcomes, financial performance, or other key performance indicators. We knew our end users were the essential ingredient to a successful implementation, user adoption, and longer-term organizational success. Because of the massive undertaking to inform, educate and train thousands of users in the language and style of a new system, we developed comprehensive communication and engagement strategy. Our Communications Team was led by Samantha Inch and included a Senior Communications Specialist, Andy McLamb. Samantha and Andy were responsible for the editorial calendar, content creation, collection and distribution approach, and the multi-modal communication mechanisms required to reach all stakeholders in alignment with our project timeline.
Our framework for communication was based on the premise of change leadership. We incorporated the 3 phases of change: 1) Current State- how things are done today, 2) Transition State- the period in which end users are adjusting to the new system, and 3) Future State- a guidepost or North Star for the vision and direction of the effort. We needed to take the time and effort to understand the current state systems, workflows, challenges, and opportunities. This helped in identifying key gaps and issues we might encounter along the way. The gaps between Current and Future States provided areas of focus for communication and engagement activities. This process allowed us to deliver a relatively smooth transition from Current to Future State through end-user preparation, operational readiness, and senior leadership support.
Dennis Delisle: The book was a collaborative effort with my colleagues Samantha Inch and Andy McLamb (mentioned above). Throughout our implementation, they produced and distributed volumes of content across various online media (including website articles and documents, email updates and photo/video) and in-person outlets (including presentations and demos, speeches, info sessions, posters, interviews, etc.). Post-go-live, Samantha, and Andy compiled a comprehensive 'Communications Playbook' that outlined our strategy and lessons learned that we could apply to future implementations. After reviewing the playbook, we discussed the opportunity to expand that content and develop materials that would be useful to organizations on a similar journey. We were lucky enough to work with CRC Press to publish the book, which is written and presented in a way to be a companion to an implementation, something that is referred to regularly as the project progresses. We also wanted to create a guide that would help other organizations and teams avoid common pitfalls (such as low operational engagement or poor end-user adoption) and connect with their staff in a meaningful way.
Dennis Delisle: Training thousands of end users over 2-3 months is no small task. It was all hands on deck, and our leadership was 100% committed to supporting our strategy and execution, given the scale of our implementation. Prior to engaging potential vendors, the leadership team did extensive research on high-performing groups. We utilized KLAS, our EHR vendor and their current customers, as well as reference checks with customers of the groups that were under consideration. We found the most effective approach to include industry analysis, like KLAS, supplemented by customer calls. Additionally, we took note of organizations that were repeat customers of a particular vendor. In a competitive market, loyalty and repeat business are telling factors of a vendor’s performance, engagement, and value.