Those three committees report back to a project executive committee that is comprised of senior leaders from across the organization including key physician leaders. The project executive committee is the deciding body. "That is where the buck stopped," says Podesta. "We knew on the PEC committee we were in power to make the decision and once we made the decision that was it."
There are leaders who are on all four committees like the senior vice president of patient care services and the senior quality officer, who were co-executive sponsors of the project, so there is continuity across the committees. In addition, each committee has no more than 12 people on it, says Podesta. The committees meet every other week, and Podesta doesn't foresee these meetings going away any time soon. "We are still dealing with decisions and changes that need to be made to current systems that we are running," he says. "But we'll probably be running these groups for a while. They could just end up becoming part of how we do business."
Podesta's advice for other systems adopting EHRs is two-fold.
The medical center, which has about 200 employed physicians, is currently rolling out the second phase of its implementation--converting its ambulatory sites to an EHR. Its first ambulatory site, a large primary-care practice, will go live tomorrow with the rest of the practice sites coming online by September of 2010. Fletcher Allen has also upgraded its data warehouse system and is rolling out a patient portal this spring that will enable patients to schedule tests, look at a bill, track cholesterol, get lab tests, and send secure e-mails to physicians.