January 2004

CHI Connect Supports Advantages of Unified System


Catholic Health Initiatives has launched CHI Connect, a standard, system-wide approach to collecting, reporting and analyzing key operational information in four business areas: finance, human resources, payroll and supply chain.

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Standardized Approach Tested at Memorial and National Offices This major initiative, introduced at Memorial Health Care System in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Catholic Health Initiatives’ national offices in December 2003, will be phased into all market-based organizations during the next five years. By creating standardized systems, Catholic Health Initiatives leverages the strength of its size and buying power and streamlines administrative tasks. Market-based organizations will have more time to focus on patient care and building healthier communities, as well as planning for strategic issues in local markets. The operational efficiencies created by this standardized approach will result in cost savings that will remain with the market-based organizations for reinvestment in facilities and communities. During the past year, Memorial, along with 12 other market-based organizations of various sizes, provided data and helped evaluate the business rationale for standardizing finance, human resources, payroll and supply chain operations. This analysis revealed that operational efficiencies gained through CHI Connect could save approximately $50 million throughout the system during the next five years. Specific timeframes for implementation of the program within individual market-based organizations are being developed.“CHI Connect is expected to bring many positive changes to Catholic Health Initiatives and we are pleased to be able to assist in the initial design of such an innovative project,” said Ruth Brinkley, president and chief executive officer of Memorial Health Care System. “It is a privilege to work for a progressive organization that embraces change to support our healing ministry. I am looking forward to the benefits this new system should bring to our patients and community.” Through CHI Connect, centralized service centers will provide tools and national support for accounts payable, payroll, human resources and benefits administration, supply contracting and procurement. There will be no changes to clinical functions. CHI Connect will change how supplies are requisitioned and enable improved tracking of supplies, which will allow the organization to collect data, share information and identify opportunities for standardization. Based on preliminary data and the experiences of other health care organizations that have implemented this system, some positions in supply procurement, accounts payable, human resources and payroll will be affected by this new initiative. Some of these individuals will be offered opportunities at centralized service centers and several new jobs will be created. Some jobs will be eliminated. The impact on staffing for individual market-based organizations is being evaluated and will vary by organization size. Catholic Health Initiatives estimates that a small number of positions will be affected. Changes in job structure will occur as the system is implemented at each market-based organization. “We understand that this change will affect people’s lives and we are sensitive to that,” said Kevin Lofton, president and chief executive officer of Catholic Health Initiatives. “In keeping with our mission and commitment to employees, the individuals affected will be assisted with the transition through retraining or other opportunities within Catholic Health Initiatives.” Now in its design phase, CHI Connect is being developed by multi-disciplinary teams of professionals from finance, human resources, payroll, information technology and supply chain from both market-based and national staff. Susan Peach, senior vice president for performance management, is chair of the Executive Steering Committee comprised of market-based and national leaders. The “go-live” date for the Memorial and national office launch sites is targeted for April 2005. Lessons learned from these launch sites will be used to fine-tune the implementation schedule of CHI Connect for the remaining market-based organizations. Implementation of CHI Connect will be phased in through 2008, providing time to plan, design, build, test and train staff. The phased-in approach will allow for additional input from market-based organizations on design and final modifications. Carol Newton, Memorial’s chief financial officer, serves as the CHI Connect project leader in Chattanooga. “We are excited about having timely access to operational information so we can sustain and enhance our mission while comparing and benchmarking with our peers across Catholic Health Initiatives,” Newton said. “CHI Connect should allow us to spend less time preparing data and more time analyzing information, which will enable us to make better decisions for the entire health care system.” Catholic Health Initiatives has selected Lawson software to implement CHI Connect. Lawson, which serves 2,200 customers nationwide, specializes in developing software for the health care field. “Our success will be directly related to our willingness to embrace change,” said Chris Macmanus, senior vice president and chief information officer for Catholic Health Initiatives. “It is imperative that we create a common vision and stay the course. Implementing CHI Connect will enable Catholic Health Initiatives to nurture the healing ministry and remain vital and self-sustaining as we work to improve the health of the communities we serve.” For more information contact Chris Macmanus, senior vice president and chief information officer, chrismacmanus@catholichealth.net.

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