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Supporting Sutter Health's EHR Initiative

Healthcare | Applications Staffing

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Sutter Health partners with TEKsystems to deploy 30+ resources in support of its new Epic electronic health records (EHR) implementation.

Sutter Health serves patients in more than 100 northern California cities and towns. Employing over 48,000 physicians, employees and volunteers, Sutter-affiliated hospitals lead their region in cardiac care, women’s and children’s services, cancer care, orthopedics, and advanced patient safety and technology. TEKsystems has been a Sutter Health partner for more than 10 years. 
EpicCare Ambulatory Core EMR, Care Everywhere, Care Elsewhere, MyChart, Reporting Workbench, Clarity, Bridges; Interface bundles, E-Prescribing, Incoming lab results, Vaccinations registry, Outgoing surveillance

In accordance with the Federal EMR Electronic Healthcare Records 2014/2015 Mandate, Sutter Health began an initiative to implement one of the largest and most complex EMR/EHR systems in the country. Historically recognized for being a leader in “EHR best practice” within the national ambulatory setting, Sutter Health sought to move all affiliated medical groups across its 100+ locations, to the new EHR system by 2015. Sutter selected EpicCare Ambulatory Core EMR as its system of choice and with an aggressive “go live” strategy in place, this implementation called for the company to migrate facilities in each of its regions over an iterative schedule.

The success of this initiative depended heavily on Sutter’s ability to implement the Epic product suite, train its staff on the new technology and effectively provide post-implementation support. In the interim, Sutter also needed to balance the day-to-day challenges of running business operations using various disparate legacy systems. This was further complicated by the fact that the company was significantly understaffed in many critical areas and that 50 percent of the headcount increase would need to come from an outside partner. Given these circumstances, Sutter needed to quickly mobilize additional resources in order to meet all deadlines and budget targets for its massive EHR initiative.

Leading the Epic effort, the VP of Application Services and Acute Care Implementation Manager leveraged the company’s long-standing relationship with TEKsystems and reached out to its dedicated healthcare specialist for support. Having enjoyed a long history of successful projects, Sutter came to rely on TEKsystems for its agile approach to qualifying and prioritizing requirements, setting clear expectations and communication plans leveraging its size, reach and visibility into the labor market to find, deploy and retain these critical resources.  In addition TEKsystems provided access to qualified talent, a proven Staffing Quality Process® and the added value of time and expense tools to aid in resource management.

There is a historically relevant labor shortage in the healthcare industry and due to the various federal mandates and increased regulatory pressures, there is an increased sense of urgency for healthcare systems to attract and retain talent. Specifically, the competencies required to support an Epic implementation of this size and scope is difficult and costly to find in a small pool of talent within a highly competitive environment. TEKsystems was able to leverage its 300+ recruiters and nationwide network of professionals to assemble an 80+ person Epic EMR support team consisting of builders, systems analysts, developers and several other mission-critical roles to support the implementation of the core product, as well as additional specialized resources to implement the associated add-on modules.

Conducted over several months, key functions performed by this team included conducting on-site visits to each facility to evaluate legacy systems, designing transition and migration plans, and completing the custom building and transforming activities to ensure the new system met the needs of each facility and enabled a successful “go-live.”  TEKsystems resources were also tasked with post-implementation support, which included deploying a team to Sutter locations to facilitate successful adoption, providing training and acting as a resource to end-users who face challenges or have questions related to use and functionality of the new Epic EMR system.

Considerable progress has been made toward Sutter Health’s goal of implementing a centralized EpicCare EMR system by 2015. Easily, one of the largest and most complex EMR/EHR systems in the country, the Sutter Health Epic implementation is currently running on time, within budget and is already producing gains for the client’s staff and patients. While the new system is fully operational and meets the requirements for the Federal EMR Electronic Healthcare Records 2014/2015 Mandate, ultimately the true benefit of providing better, faster, more efficient patient care is being realized.

Sutter Health has installed its new system in each of its medical foundations and continues its system-wide Epic Acute-care implementation in affiliated hospitals. These facilities now have a full software suite that includes a robust EHR for clinical care management, accounts receivable management and reimbursement. Sutter Health is also able to use its new system to give caregivers and clinicians access to the information they need to provide better, safer and more convenient care to its patients. Sutter is now able to connect 12,000+ caregivers serving more than one million patients in northern California. Approximately 450,000 patients use Sutter’s “My Health Online” service to partner with their doctors in managing their health.

Additional benefits resulting from this successful TEKsystems/Sutter Health EHR implementation include:

  • Caregivers have real-time access to test results, medical history, medications and prior health conditions, as well as a robust library of the latest medical research.
  • The new system automatically cross-checks new and existing prescriptions to ensure there are no negative patient interactions.
  • Physicians can enter orders and prescriptions directly into the EHR system versus handwriting them, enabling pharmacists and other caregivers to clearly read the information–greatly reducing the occurrence of errors and saving significant time.
  • Lab results and x-rays can be sent electronically between caregivers in real time as soon as they are completed, which enables immediate analysis, diagnosis and treatment.

An ongoing initiative, TEKsystems currently has more than 30 Epic resources deployed and is actively working in support of the remaining activities related to the Epic implementation.

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