When MultiCare Health System in Tacoma, Wash., launched an integrated electronic medical record at three of its hospitals in June 2007, President and Chief Executive Officer Diane Cecchettini watched as nurses hovered over computer screens.
On a more routine basis, Cecchettini scrutinizes all patient safety and clinical outcome statistics that cross her desk, looking for clues to needed refinements in care processes.
The personal attention she devotes to front-line care isnt surprising given the fact that she rose to the executive suite from nursing, including bedside posts in a pediatric intensive-care unit and aeromedical evacuation flights for the U.S. Air Force.
I have always been fascinated by the opportunity to practice differently how we can use data and information about patients, says Cecchettini, 60, who was promoted to her current position in 1999. She joined MultiCarean integrated health network with four hospitals and 800-plus employed physiciansin 1989 as vice president of patient care.
In her current job, she has helped MultiCare employees move from delivering care in a series of disjointed encounters between the health network and the patientdoctors-office visits, tests and proceduresto a smooth, ongoing relationship. MultiCare is systematically
re-engineering and computerizing all processes that touch the patientfrom registration to medical treatment to billing. The fundamental technology, an EMR, is a compilation of all information about a patienta structure Cecchettini has dubbed, one patient, one record.
The patients can be in our clinic office, they can be in urgent care and then come to the emergency department; we have their records, we know their allergies, we know what their disease history is, and we can immediately implement care, Cecchettini says.