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An HIT Moment with … Denni McColm

December 1, 2008 Interviews No Comments

An HIT Moment with ... is a quick interview with someone we find interesting. Denni McColm is CIO at 74-bed Citizens Memorial Healthcare of Bolivar, MO.

Citizens Memorial won the Davies Award and has reached Stage 6 of EMR adoption from HIMSS Analytics. Beyond the industry recognition, what IT-driven changes have you seen with regard to patient satisfaction, provider satisfaction, staff turnover, expense, and clinical outcomes?

Across our service lines, we have over 40 publicly reported quality measures (hospital, home care, and long term care). Before Project Infocare, we were above the national average on only 39%, or 15, of those measures. Today, we are above the national average on 80%, or 36, measures. We’ve been recognized for quality with state recognition for both home care and long term care.

On financial measures, since we’ve implemented Project Infocare we’ve seen an increase in net revenue of over 35%, while only increasing our staffing by 4%.

What projects are you working on?

We are doing more training with staff on effective use of the EMR within the context of a patient encounter. For some users this comes naturally, but for most physicians and nurses using the computer during the visit effectively takes practice. We failed to do this well as we implemented and we are refocusing on it now. The training method is called MUSE and is offered by The Robertson Group.

We are also implementing a patient portal, expanding our HR suite of products, utilizing automated infection and quality measure alerting, building ambulatory quality measures into the workflow during a typical ambulatory encounter, bringing more providers on with speech recognition, and interfacing portable vital signs monitors and glucometers throughout the organization.

In 2009, we’ll also be implementing an EMR for our affiliated cancer center and for our Miles for Smiles mobile dental unit.

What system capabilities or tools would you say have had the most significant impact on improving patient care in your hospital?

The EMR, just for providing access to the information providers need to care for patients. CPOE in that it gives us a more direct line of communication from the physician to the caregiver and automated quality measurement extracted from the EMR.

What impact will economic conditions have on your IT department and the hospital?

Secretly, we hope it will slow things down for us, but the more likely scenario is that IT will be more in demand as the organization seeks tools to help become more efficient. I also think that part of the national economic stimulus will be directed into health care. Obama is already uttering the phrase “electronic medical records.” And, whatever form healthcare reform takes, IT will be needed to help adapt.

What makes you happiest and most excited about working in IT in a tiny rural hospital?

The opportunity to put IT to use making a difference in the quality of care and service my friends, neighbors, and family receive. And, the ability to pursue the projects that will really make a difference for care providers and patients. OK, deep down, I also love it that we are so far ahead in terms of IT adoption compared to so many large hospital systems, including the ones here in southwest Missouri.

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