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Get Physicians Involved From the Start with Decision Support

Greg Freeman for HealthLeaders Media, May 14, 2012
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This article appears in the May 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

The successful adoption of clinical decision support at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia came after years of work that included physicians and other clinicians in the development process, says Michael Restuccia, vice president and CIO.

These are some of the important steps in the Penn process:

1. Clinical IT governance group: Penn established a high-level governing group that helps set IT priorities and ensures that the necessary resources are available. Included in it are the chief medical officer, chief administrative officer, pharmacy director, executive director of clinical practices, corporate senior VP, and CFO.

2. Dedicated implementation and support: Penn hired a number of outside consultants to complement its employees, creating a skilled team with significant subject-matter expertise. While implementing its EMR system, each practice established a governance committee made up of clinical and administrative staff. Those groups worked with the information services team, deciding how areas such as work flow and data conversion would work.

3. Physician participation: Physicians and nurses were included in the planning, implementation, and optimization of all of the technology initiatives. By incorporating their feedback, Penn created customized solutions that addressed the needs of its users and generated enthusiasm and support for the projects.

4. Project management: Penn assigned dedicated project managers to each of its physician practices during IT implementations.

5. Executive support: CEO Ralph Muller identified information services as vital to supporting the organization’s strategic goals. IS holds a place of prominence in Penn’s strategic plan and Clinical Blue Print for Quality. Muller has been key in transitioning IS from a predominantly outsourced and decentralized organization focused on service levels to an insourced, centralized department focused on service.

6. Solid infrastructure: Penn created a comprehensive infrastructure, including WAN, wireless, and mobile, that ensures reliable, high-speed, and stable connectivity. Access to patient information can now take place from virtually anywhere.   


This article appears in the May 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.