Assembling the Right Team to Fully Support an Integrated EMR Transition

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With 10 hospitals and more than 1,400 affiliated physicians, St. Luke’s Health System (SLHS) provides a range of inpatient, outpatient, ambulatory clinics, and home care services. St. Luke’s faced common challenges—how to simultaneously support and implement its new electronic medical record (EMR) system without adding headcount or increasing costs.

As the flagship hospital of St. Luke’s Health System, St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center is the hospital system’s headquarters and is the largest healthcare provider in Idaho. The not-for-profit organization is dedicated to its mission of “Improving the health of people in the communities it serves.”

St. Luke’s was losing hard-to-replace skilled IT resources as it navigated through a new EMR implementation, and the need to efficiently support it. Working together, HCTec and St. Luke’s created a solution that reduced employee turnover and efficiently implemented and supported a new EMR.

Challenge

In 2014, St. Luke’s was facing a variety of issues regarding their IT and technical support teams. The health system’s ambulatory clinics had already gone live on the new EMR (Epic), but the hospitals and in-patient facilities within the system had not yet made the transition, due to a lack of technical resources.

The hospital system had been losing resources due to high staff turnover, and it was struggling to replace vital staff members. Since St. Luke’s is the largest health system in Idaho, whenever resources would leave the medial system, they would be difficult to replace. St. Luke’s struggled to recruit replacement resources within its geography.

Collaboration & Support

To guarantee the resources necessary for building and implementing an Epic go-live, the health system contracted with HCTec for additional support. An HCTec employee was placed onsite to lead the full technical integration, and he worked alongside Boise leadership to build the entire back-end infrastructure for the Epic build.

While working on the Epic technical requirements, HCTec also assisted St. Luke’s with integrating the system’s biomedical devices with Epic. Using a team of onsite consultants, HCTec migrated all non-Epic aspects of the medical system over to the new EMR. At the height of the transition, the number of HCTec resources was higher than any other consulting firm, and HCTec had 42 employees working directly within the hospital system.

HCTec partnered with St. Luke’s for the duration of the Epic implementation, and the medical system valued HCTec’s ability to assist with any problems or issues that arose. The hospitals within the system went live on Epic in 2016, and throughout the two-year build, HCTec also coordinated:

After a successful launch, how do you support it?

Results

Once the new EMR system had been running for close to a year, HCTec and the leadership team at St. Luke’s opened the discussion for implementing HCTec’s Managed Services team.

After building a strong relationship during the Epic integration, the HCTec team had first-hand knowledge of St. Luke’s pain points and staffing difficulties. The HCTec team leader knew staff turnover had climbed to over 10% and that the medical system struggled to keep full-time equivalent employees in their Radiology department. HCTec offered the Managed Services’ 24-hour, U.S.-based support team in Atlanta, Georgia as a solution that would help St. Luke’s maintain their current financial situation, while increasing overall productivity.

The transition became a natural progression that allowed the medical system to incorporate Managed Services on a modular basis. Since staff turnover in Radiology had been a long-standing issue, it was the first department to implement Managed Services. The department now serves as a model for other areas in the hospital, as St. Luke’s begins expanding Managed Services to other departments.