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  • January 04 2011

    Critical Access Hospital achieves HIMSS Stage 6 with CommunityWorks model

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    CommunityWorks is a division of Cerner that focuses on partnering with Community and Critical Access Hospitals. We've been working closely with Carroll County Memorial Hospital (Carrollton, MO) since last March and are proud to announce that CCMH become just the 4th Critical Access Hospital in the U.S. to reach HIMSS Stage 6 on the EMR Adoption Model. This puts them in the top 3.5% of all U.S. hospitals in terms of EMR adoption. CCMH went live on the CommunityWorks Millennium Software as a Service (SaaS) offering on September 1.

    CCMH Associate Administrator and CFO Jeff Tindle has been vocal about the importance of EHRs and has shared his story with other small hospitals, providing some best practices and lessons learned throughout the implementation journey. He was able to speak at both the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) Annual Critical Access Hospital conference and at the Cerner Health Conference.

    The partnership between CCMH and Cerner began last March. The implementation timeline was aggressive at only 5 months. CCMH went live on September 1 with a full suite of solutions across the hospital and clinics, including inpatient and ambulatory EMR, CPOE, documentation, lab, ED, pharmacy, radiology, HIM, registration/scheduling, patient accounting, general financials and many others. They are going to start monitoring Meaningful Use metrics after the first of the year and get ready for attestation. The project is known as Connecting CARE (Clinical Excellence, Accelerated Growth, Regional Leadership, Employee Satisfaction).

    CCMH and other standalone smaller hospitals face the same challenges a larger hospital would when undertaking a project of this magnitude, plus some added stressors. There is often a shortage of IT expertise in-house, as was the case at Carroll County. They outsource their IT, so it was even more important for Cerner resources to be available throughout the implementation to ensure success. All resources are in short supply at a Critical Access Hospital, and that most often takes the form of people wearing multiple hats. Department heads and managers who often take on the role of Super Users are also working managers with patient care responsibilities, making staffing an important consideration during the first days of implementation.

    Fortunately, smaller hospitals also have unique advantages in navigating change. One thing CCMH has done very well is communicate. Throughout the project, staff members were kept up to date on what was going on that week and what their roles were in preparing themselves and their departments. Leadership at CCMH also used the opportunity to learn about their organization, evaluate their current processes and look for ways to improve, independent of technology.

    The CommunityWorks model has been a great fit for CCMH. They are able to utilize Cerner's IT experience and focus on their process, workflow, and operations. The model has proven to be a good fit for a wide range of hospital sizes, from 14 beds to 200 beds. Cerner is very committed and invested in the small hospital market and we are looking forward to a big 2011.

    Eric W Geis, Director and General Manager for Cerner CommunityWorks, which focuses on the critical access and smaller community hospital market. He is responsible for sales, implementation, long-term support and relationship aspects for Cerner clients. Geis has been at Cerner almost 10 years and spent a majority of his time on the consulting side doing implementations for all types of clients. Before coming to Cerner, Geis worked as an e-commerce consultant at a .com company and managed the university web team in graduate school. Geis holds a bachelor's degree in management information systems and a master's degree in business administration from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Mo.

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