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  • July 02 2012

    Located in central Wisconsin, Moundview Memorial Hospital is a 25-bed critical access hospital that serves a primarily seasonal tourist patient population (the Wisconsin Dells, a major tourist area, is nearby). Earlier this year, the hospital went live with a remote-hosted set of health IT solutions designed to streamline patient care. We sat down with Cindy Buchanan, MSN, MHA, chief nursing officer at Moundview, to chat about factors that contributed to their successful implementation, their Meaningful Use journey and other topics.

    What challenges drove your decision to implement HIT?

    Cindy Buchanan: We wanted to streamline the care we provided to our patients. The nice thing that the Cerner system presents is that the physician can now open the patient’s chart and see the entire journey. We also needed to improve our documentation processes. Our HIM department used to be bogged down with orders that weren’t signed. Now, we get an electronic signature and we’re good to go. The other thing is the paper charts themselves, and questions like, “Where’s the ER chart? Where’s the clinic chart?” The EHR system solves that.

    When did you go live with your new system?

    CB: We went live on March 1, with what’s basically a full suite of solutions on the clinical and financial sides. We made the decision to do a complete suite because, when you network with other systems, the one word you always hear is that they don’t talk, or the information isn’t as streamlined. One problem we had with our previous system is it didn’t talk to anything. All of the Cerner systems talk to each other, which helps us avoid fragmented patient care.

    What challenges arose during implementation, and how did you overcome them?

    CB: Other than the nursing staff, some of our staff members are not as technologically savvy. I knew coming in here that we’d be a bit behind the eight ball in that regard, so ongoing customer support was huge for me. Looking at how Cerner would support us compared with the other vendors we looked at, I knew we’d need the extra support that Cerner would provide. To go a step further, our subject matter experts worked with Cerner to build the system, which was very helpful in a successful implementation. How we would do things without our support team is beyond me. I knew where I wanted to go, and was able to make those decisions with the information our Cerner team provided. Administrative support is huge during the implementation process. I knew I had my CEO’s support, which made handling those tough decisions during much easier.

    Where are you on your Meaningful Use journey?

    CB: July 13 is the end of our 90-day attestation window, and we’re doing phenomenal, especially with Cerner support through the process. I think that’s the one thing you get with Cerner. You truly are working as partners to achieve success, whether that’s a successful go-live or achieving Meaningful Use.

    What benefits have you seen from using your system since go-live?

    CB: For me, auditing the charts is so much easier. Looking at MU for example, it’s easy to go into the system and see what is and isn’t being documented. Then, you can go train the nurse on what to do differently in her workflow. That’s the thing with having a complete system, there’s little variance between the solutions in the different departments. The workflow is the same, and it makes training so much easier. We try to do our own float pool internally, and it makes the nurses a little more responsible for documentation in different departments.

    What about benefits for the patients?

    CB: If I’m a patient and I have questions about my care or lab results or anything, the information is readily accessible for the clinicians. The system is so easy to navigate and find what you need, it streamlines the patient care experience. The physician can spend more time in dialogue with the patient instead of bogged down in paperwork.

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