The two biggest ones, implementing the new eSOAR electronic health records system and striving to meet the federal government’s meaningful use standards, go hand in hand.
A third change, a complete physical restructuring of the department, is an offshoot of the first two.
CIS is gearing up to roll out eSOAR, a hospital-wide electronic health record system, next year. eSOAR was named to brand the Siemens products that KSB will utilize, and reflects what is gained by implementing the suite of products, It also helps staff at KSB to claim ownership of the products as they will be used by hospital staff and providers throughout KSB.
The eSOAR system will be used for clinical care of the patient, by Pharmacy, for administration of medications, and by scheduling and billing areas.
“The project involves meeting with almost every department of the hospital and clinics to understand work flow and processes,” Director of Information Systems Dave Ginn explained. “The product is then configured to work in KSB’s environment.”
Director of CIS Teresa Gibson, who originated the name eSOAR for KSB’s system—it stands for electronic, Safety, Outcomes, Access and Results—said the emphasis is on far more than records.
“It’s electronic medical records, but it’s more than that,” she explained. “It’s a complete enterprise record system. It reaches many different areas and dimensions of the hospital.
“A work-flow engine is operating in the background so when a nurse or doctor puts in an order, it may trigger several different things that have to be done to accomplish it.”
For example, Gibson pointed out, discharge orders may notify the Housekeeping Department of a bed that now needs to be changed and made up for a new patient. Or a doctor’s orders for an inpatient to be put on a special diet may alert the Dietary Department of these requirements.
While eSOAR will standardize KSB’s record keeping and allow everyone to “see” and be on the same page, it also demonstrates to the federal government that meaningful use is being achieved.
Meaningful use is a government incentive program that currently rewards hospitals for using electronic records in defined ways to improve the care we provide to our patients.
Examples include keeping medication and allergy lists up to date and complete or providing patients with summaries of their office visits or inpatient stays.
Right now the incentive dollars are like bonuses; however, come 2015, hospitals will be required to demonstrate meaningful use at the risk of losing reimbursement dollars.
“KSB Administration recognized that now is the time to jump on board and earn some incentive dollars that will help us recoup our costs of implementing eSOAR,” Gibson said. “Meaningful use will be required of all hospitals by the end of next year to receive the full incentive amount.
“But eSOAR will help us get there. It has kind of morphed with meaningful use to the point where we can accomplish our objectives together.”
All of these changes have resulted in changes to the CIS office on the first floor of the KSB Annex. Consultants who have been working with the department to assist with the implementation of eSOAR recommended that a command center be established, so the CIS area has been reconfigured and some employees have been moved to other offices.
“We have created a command room where we can bring people in to gather information, review work processes, and work on the computer build for eSOAR,” Gibson added. “But we kept the staff members here who we would need if questions arise and to hear information needed for the build.
“It made sense to relocate our scanning technicians. As we get closer to going live, our command center will be especially vital to implementation.”