Wyoming Care Org to Tap Cerner EHR for Patient Safety, Efficiency

A committee led by providers and staff selected the Cerner EHR for its patient safety features after a 10-month selection process.

Crook County Medical Services District (CCMSD) in Wyoming is implementing a Cerner EHR system to drive patient safety and alleviate clinician burden, according to reporting from The Sundance Times.

Wesley Davis, DNP, led a steering committee through a ten-month EHR selection process and gave a presentation to the board of trustees last week.

“We identified our stakeholders – the key people involved within the organization [this affects],” he said.

At first, he noted that many staff members said they did not think the EHR impacted them. However, as the conversation progressed, Davis said staff eventually realized that the system affects “everyone from the top down.”

Therefore, the committee wanted the EHR selection process to be fully inclusive, led by providers and staff.

“Everybody was included and invited to be an active participant in this process,” Davis told the news outlet.

He said the goal was to identify “where we are and where we want to be.” The committee created a document that came out to about 40 pages of priorities.

After putting together a list of all the available EHR vendors, the committee narrowed it down to three top picks. The committee then looked at specific challenges and reached out to the vendors to ask how their EHR would help address them.

The committee eliminated one vendor because it required millions of dollars of infrastructure. The second vendor did not sell to critical access hospitals and wanted the district to partner with a larger organization such as Monument Health.

Cerner impressed the committee the most, Davis said.

“They’ve had a very good communication style,” he noted, including direct access to a representative, timely responses to emails, and in-person demos of the software.

Davis said that Cerner’s platform is set to streamline CCMSD’s clinical workflows and reduce the number of steps needed to perform a task.

Committee members spoke about their preference for Cerner, describing issues with the current system, such as a lack of automation.

Heath Waddell, MD, CCMSD medical director, described the current EHR as a productivity bottleneck.

The current system, he said, requires a lot of “useless clicking.”

Waddell also noted that the current EHR causes miscommunications in patient care due to issues such as handwritten notes and inefficient data sharing processes.

Trustee Ed Ray asked whether implementing a new system would require extra staff. Waddell said a temporary team would be a good idea because it’s a “monumental beast,” and investment at the front end would pay off.

Davis said whether or not current Cerner clients are happy with the system seems to be linked to how well they invested in the implementation.

Micki Lyons, CEO of CCMSD, commented that the implementation would require a project manager. She noted that this would not necessarily be a health IT professional but someone willing to dedicate their time to ensuring Cerner has the information it needs.

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