Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Transforming a Health System

Transforming a health system is no easy task. This last month has been a testament to that fact as we undergo the growing pains of implementing our electronic health record (EHR). However, I remain convinced that as our planned efforts continue, our primary charge of ensuring that every person in our community has access to the right care, at the right time, in the right place is quickly becoming more than just an aspirational statement and closer to an achievable reality. In order to be ready for health reform, we have embarked on this journey to implement an EHR as many other hospitals also will do.

As with any EHR implementation, we knew it was only the beginning when we launched ccLink on July 1 and that this work would be ongoing. Because our integrated health system includes a detention health component, we have unique opportunities to ensure no one is left behind. We also have the unique hurdles of integration in a highly complex setting. Staff members have expressed concerns about how the new EHR is working in the county detention facilities. Patient safety is our highest priority and we are actively investigating and resolving any issues reported by staff. Many of the reported issues have been resolved and we are working aggressively on all staff concerns.  

We recognize the implementation process has been challenging. Ongoing technology optimization and training will continue. We also recognize that we can improve communication with staff about how concerns are being resolved and are working on this process to ensure employees have the information they need and that their feedback is received. We’ve intensified efforts in the detention facilities, sending additional technology teams in, restructuring staff to provide more support and including more frontline staff who work in the jails directly in the process to refine the system.  

I am encouraged by staff’s commitment to finding resolutions and improving how we communicate to ensure issues are addressed. An EHR is a powerful tool but it doesn’t replace staff or their knowledge. Our employees are and always have been the single most critical part of our safety system. They play a crucial role in patient safety and we need them to continue bringing forward important information. As a public agency, we understand the importance of accountability and transparency. I believe one of the greatest attributes of our health system is that we belong and answer to those we serve.

Though the road feels rough right now, we are still on track. Despite the challenges of today and the many challenges ahead as health reform becomes a reality, I remain confident that we will continue to provide high quality and compassionate care to improve the health of our whole community with special attention to those who are most vulnerable. 

More very soon,