Bar-Coded Medication Administration software

Terri Rini Barber , VP, Support Services and CIO , Southwest General Hospital
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Terri Rini Barber , VP, Support Services and CIO , Southwest General Hospital

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations

Healthcare IT’s biggest challenge is keeping up with federal regulations. There are too many looming requirements that must be addressed in order to comply (meaningful use stage 2, ICD-10, to name a few). We must rely on technology providers to develop solutions to facilitate compliance. My wish would be to have technology vendors offer affordable, easy to implement solutions in a reasonable timeframe.

The areas in business environment where solutions do not yet exist or not up to the mark, and which if existed, would've made job easier

Many of the cool technologies available are still immature. They don’t go far enough to meet healthcare provider’s expectations. A good example is Health Information Exchanges. They do (at a high level) enhance our ability to electronically share information, but until you get a critical mass to participate, and until the technology covers all bases, HIEs are not fully functional.

Manner in which data is used to head off problems and complications before they happen

Southwest General has some very beneficial software solutions in place that generate a lot of data. We are also planning on implementing 27 additional IT solutions. Some of the EMR components used are so powerful, that the data they are able to generate can address each of the initiatives. Bar-Coded Medication Administration software avoids adverse events by warning the clinician if the wrong drug, time, dose, route, or patient is present during medication administration.

Thoughts on how IT strategic planning supports organization- wide efforts to improve quality, cut costs and improve efficiency in the Healthcare sector

We have an IT Advisory Board comprised of executives and key leaders to help prioritize requests for IT initiatives and ensure that they are aligned with larger strategic goals. We will be initiating Patient Portal project soon, which supports our organization’s strategic goal to make hospital more accessible to patients. Clinical quality will be enhanced as patients will invest more in their own healthcare. Efficiency will increase if they can use a secure messaging system to communicate with their care givers and use the portal for things like scheduling appointments, requesting prescription refills, or paying their bills electronically.

Technology trends impacting enterprise business environment

Mobile computing is the trend that I have my eye on. I want our medical staff to be able to use their personal electronic devices to facilitate the care of their patients. Our challenge is ensuring that the information is secure and meets some of the stringent requirements of the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy.

My roles and responsibilities as a CIO

My role has gotten increasingly strategic as our EMR roll out is well underway. I have a key role on the executive team related to developing the organization’s strategy. In addition, I have taken on additional (non CIO) responsibilities as my organization continually strives to manage their labor costs, and has increased the span of control for many senior managers.

Lessons learned and advice for fellow CIOs

CIOs need to be thoughtful and take their time as they add resources to their team. Make sure that your team is clear on your expectations, and aware that you will not retain low performers. Step back and reevaluate your IT organizational structure every few years to ensure that it functions optimally.

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