October 2011

Ambulatory Electronic Health Record Rolling Out in Des Moines Clinics

CHI’s ambulatory electronic health record (AEHR), an important element of OneCare, is now being implemented throughout Mercy’s employed primary and specialty physician practice locations in Des Moines, IA.

“Things are going very well, considering this is a rapid implementation with three to five sites going live each week,” said Sandy Schuck, director of ambulatory physician services. “The clinics are prepared and ready for the implementation, which is a huge contributor to success. CHI has provided a great complement of organizational effectiveness, communication and technical resources, too.”

Ben Gaumer, DO, regional chief medical informatics officer, said Mercy providers and employees are adapting well to using the AEHR. “As with any project, there are things that don’t work as we planned and require changes,” he said. “But, the providers and employees knew this would be a challenging process that would cause some frustrations and a temporary reduction in productivity as they become used to the AEHR. They have been accommodating and flexible, and have embraced the change.”

Gaumer also credits four Mercy locations that piloted the AEHR with improving the overall implementation. “The pilot sites experienced some issues during their go-lives, which were subsequently fixed,” he said. “That made the general implementation smoother. I think we’ll continue that trend of fewer problems and easier adoption as we add more locations and move the process to other regions of CHI.”

Both Gaumer and Schuck emphasize the importance of preparation. “Clinics and departments that will implement the AEHR can start communicating about it now to begin engaging physicians and staff in the process,” said Schuck.

“It’s also essential to limit providers’ appointment schedules during go-live,” said Gaumer. “They must have adequate time to see patients and to document their notes in the AEHR.”

The AEHR implementation at Mercy will continue through the beginning of 2012. More information and a variety of communication resources are available to CHI employees on the OneCare pages of Inside CHI (Patient Care/OneCare/Ambulatory Electronic Health Record).