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  • August 01 2012

    This is part one of our interview with Maureen Belley. Part two is available here.

    Lowell General Hospital is an independent, not-for-profit, community hospital serving the Greater Lowell, Mass., area and surrounding communities. The hospital offers the latest state-of-the-art technology and a full range of medical and surgical services for patients, from newborns to seniors. The main hospital campus offers 217 licensed beds, including 28 bassinets and a Level IIB Special Care Nursery. The hospital’s satellite campus, Lowell General Chelmsford, offers a variety of outpatient services, including the Surgery Center, the Imaging Center, the Patient Service Center, the Center for Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery and Floating Hospital for Children’s Pediatric Specialty Center.

    We recently caught up with Maureen Belley, director of information services at Lowell General, to discuss Meaningful Use. Part one of this conversation covers Lowell's successful attestation process. Part two will focus on her reactions the proposed Stage 2 measures.

    What was the MU attestation process like for you/your facility?

    Maureen Belley: The first thing we did was a gap analysis/crosswalk evaluation of each MU objective to get a better understanding of the requirements. We then assigned a Meaningful Use coordinator to spearhead the process, and we made sure we had the certified technology. The IS department installed, tested required packages and participated in system design and build necessary to meet the Meaningful Use objectives.

    We put together a cross-departmental team that constituted the project steering committee responsible for overseeing process changes, report validation, staff education and audit documentation. This team included Information Services, Nursing Informatics, Quality, Laboratory, Radiology, Pharmacy, Health Information Management, Revenue Cycle and Finance. Another team, the task force committee, was responsible of overseeing other aspects: technical, regulatory, and financial. Responsibilities for each objective were identified and assigned accordingly.

    The MU coordinator ran reports, monitored thresholds, analyzed and validated the data, reported any discrepancies to the appropriate parties and followed through until resolved. She also registered and attested to CMS Registration and Attestation System on behalf of the hospital. The Project Manager helped coordinate system configuration, packages, and report analysis. Nursing Informatics spent significant time with end user education to help meet compliance as well as participating in issues troubleshooting and resolving. Communications were sent on a regular basis to bring awareness, promote adoption, and keep everyone up to date as to the progress of the project.

    How did Cerner help you achieve successful attestation?

    MB: The hospital contracted with Cerner Regulatory Professional Services Team to set up the functional reports, identify and provide a gap analysis, monitor and troubleshoot a mock attestation and supply a template for audit documentation. They also made available a space on uCern where documents were posted and readily available to other team members.

    What was the biggest challenge during the process? How did you overcome it?

    MB: Quality measures. This implementation was completed as a separate project. Extracting and viewing the reports was performed via a web application and not through the standard MU functional reports. The Cerner Quality Implementation team works separately from the Cerner Regulatory team, while these two parts were needed to attain the meaningful use requirements. The process of initiating, monitoring and capturing the quality data involved significant clinical workflow changes.

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