Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in New York's Brooklyn borough, got into the implementation of electronic health records early.
The 864-bed hospital signed its first contract for a system in 1997, and implemented it the following year, said Kingsbrook's Chief Information Officer Nympha Meindel. We got CPOE (computer physician order entry) in under the wire, before physicians realized that they had to rebel against it, Meindel said Saturday during the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's 2009 Nursing Informatics Symposium in Chicago.
But many in the audience weren't as lucky to have the benefits of early adoption, and are now struggling to find ways to install EHRs so that theyre not just implemented, but fully adopted by physicians, nurses and all clinical staff. Executives who talked about their hospitals experiences emphasized the pivotal role of strong leadership in successful adoption.
For Aurelia Boyer, senior vice president and CIO at New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System, showing leadership often means explaining complex EHR initiatives to numerous corporate committees in comprehensible terms. If you cannot speak to your strategic vision, you are not going to succeed as a CIO, Boyer said of her presentations to New York-Presbyterian trustees. They dont want to hear about projects. Projects are too detailed.
Patricia Natale, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient-care service at Detroit Medical Center, said administrators implementing EHRs will often find themselves exerting uphill leadership because the task is so challenging. Physicians and employees need to see an administrator taking a direct role in implementation, sometimes just by having a physical presence where the changes are taking place, she said.