HIMSS 2008: Hitting the Suite Spot

Gary Baldwin, for HealthLeaders Media, February 28, 2008
Riverview Hospital faced a difficult decision. Its legacy hospital information system was being retired by its vendor, and the county facility wanted to forge ahead on the IT path. Based in Noblesville, IN, Riverview is a county-owned hospital that competes with several other well-established hospital systems in the area. The 170-bed hospital set out to deploy a package of up-to-date information systems that would automate its major functions, including imaging, revenue cycle, and clinical documentation. Rather than turning to one main vendor, Riverview adopted what its chief information officer Randy Cox describes as a "best of suite" approach.

The approach is a compromise between a single vendor solution, in which a hospital turns to a single primary vendor for its functions, and best of breed, which calls for multiple niche applications. With the best of suite philosophy, the hospital leans on one vendor to supply multiple modules for a core group of functions. For example, its revenue cycle management supplier, Keane, provides integrated software that handles registration, billing, and accounts receivables. Its clinical system, from Quadramed, handles results, orders, and electronic signatures for physicians.

During his presentation at HIMSS, Cox described how he turned the management of the complex project over to various department leaders. Before vendor selection began, department leaders created their own "success criteria" for what they wanted to achieve with the new technology. The effort included mapping common patient scenarios and the data exchanges needed to facilitate them. The effort laid the groundwork for the entire project, Cox said.

Now that the systems are in place, Riverview is seeing enhanced efficiency and wider use of the technology by physicians, Cox said. Half of its physicians use remote access technology to retrieve clinical information.

Cox's next step will be upgrading Riverview's 20 owned medical group practices--which encompass about 50 physicians--to a hybrid practice management and clinical documentation system from Misys. The vendor's open source software will facilitate broader data exchange across the community, Cox said.

--Gary Baldwin

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