A Triple Play Updates CARE*Link

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Pictured: Analyst Cathie Stahl of HealthTECH Resources gives a recent project road show overview for Emergency Department nurses.

If you visit Epic headquarters in Verona, Wisconsin, you’ll find a star for The Queen’s Health Systems pretty close to the front door of an Electronic Health Records (EHR) “hall of fame.” The closer to the front one is, signifies earlier adoption of Epic’s EHR system, which Queen’s calls CARE*Link. It demonstrates that Queen’s is a tech-savvy organization, but mixed in with that early adoption is a current need to address major CARE*Link issues. Triple Play is a major QHS project to update CARE*Link to current industry best practices and will involve a massive team effort from both

IT and CARE*Link users. The project is called Triple Play because it encompasses a double upgrade, plus standardization that will resolve CARE*Link’s foundational issues, bringing it in line with current industry best practices.

QMC adopted an inpatient EHR ahead of many major health organizations such as Kaiser Permanente, which rolled out their Epic-based system in 2010. When Queen’s rolled out CARE*Link in 2006 (the star photo reflects the 2004 contract date), there was less industry standardization of EHR systems, and Queen’s chose to customize its EHR. As EHR systems like Epic became more and more standardized, it became difficult for QHS to take full advantage of subsequent upgrades. As a result, a disproportionate amount of resources are currently being spent on CARE*Link maintenance, and QHS is not able to use many of Epic’s newer features that are designed for efficiency and improved care delivery.

Because of this customization, previous CARE*Link upgrades have been relatively small, but this double upgrade will be much bigger, bringing over 1,500 enhancements to the system. Further, Queen’s will shed its CARE*Link customizations in favor of more standardized Epic modules. This will fix foundational issues, improve the maintenance burden, and make future upgrades much easier.

The benefit is improved efficiency and productivity for physicians and nurses via new tools, which will allow for more time with patients. Standardization will upgrade CARE*Link to current industry best practices, as well as meet federal regulatory requirements and prepare for payment transformation.

“One of the most important parts of Triple Play is that we’re restarting a super user program with doctors, nurses, and other frontline staff,” says C. Becket Mahnke, MD, QHS Chief Medical Information Officer. “We will be taking staff with additional CARE*Link training and infusing their expertise right where people work.” He indicated that there will be about 300 super users at Queen’s Punchbowl; 55 at Queen’s – West O‘ahu; 40 at North Hawai‘i Community Hospital; and 15 at Molokai General Hospital. The Super User program is not just for the Triple Play project but will continue on as an industry best practice. Dr. Mahnke emphasized that training is key to the success of Triple Play, as well as a partnership between users and the CARE*Link team.

There will be “road shows” that showcase the new improvements through June, with training registration now open. Training for end users is from July 23 to September 8, with Go-Live scheduled for September 9. For more information, visit Triple Play on the Queen’s Intranet.

Article reprinted with permission.

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