By Brian McPherson, CIO, Botsford Hospital

Ask anyone employed by a hospital what their daily focus is and it’s the same answer: patient care.

But let’s be honest, in the midst of healthcare reform, there are a lot of other things to focus on for those in hospital administration and IT.

So while we all grapple with new technology decisions and implementations, new processes, new ways to communicate and collaborate, I thought I’d share a story with a human element, to show how good it feels to be reminded of our number one focus and priority – patients.

Virtual Bliss: thanks to Botsford Hospital caregivers and IT support staff, Linda Simons, and Bob Allen, patient and father-of-the bride Tim Lash enjoys a front row seat at his daughter’s wedding.

Tim Lash has been in our Rehab Unit at Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills, Mich. for some time – he was performing the Good Samaritan act of assisting at the scene of an accident and was actually hit by another vehicle. Despite his long journey to recovery, Tim remains in good spirits and continues to dream. One dream he had was to see his daughter get married. Last weekend – thanks to dedicated caregivers and resourceful IT supporters from ACS, A Xerox Company – Tim realized his dream.

The ACS team moved a large flat screen TV monitor and a laptop into Tim’s room, and conducted a series of tests prior to delivering a successful live feed from the wedding rehearsal on Friday. On Saturday afternoon, all systems were go, including spectacular weather in Minnesota and a well-equipped father-of-the bride. One of Tim’s doctors stopped by to loan him a shirt and tie so he would not have to “attend” the wedding in a hospital gown, nurses on the floor purchased a red rose boutonniere, and a wedding cake was delivered to Tim’s room as dessert for patients and staff on his floor.  Bob Allen, CIT  Network Administrator, was on hand throughout the afternoon for troubleshooting.  Tim’s dream of attending his daughter’s wedding was realized.

It goes to show that making a difference in a patient’s life is more than medicine – and we can only inspire our staff to make that kind of difference by keeping other distractions to a minimum.

So how do we keep the focus on patients while trying to check off our reform to-do lists? Here’s what we did.

  • Make a plan that considers patients: The decision to transition to an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system was one of transformation – advancing the way we deliver care, bettering communication between staff and patients and improving patient safety.
  • Take it slow: While there are stimulus and meaningful use dollars on the table, we were careful to advise hospital leaders that we didn’t want to rush into a decision. While we all wanted a system to automate our processes – automation on a flawed system only makes it worse.
  • Ask for help: ACS brought technical and strategic expertise that we simply didn’t have. They helped us decipher our needs and match us up with EMR vendors that could deliver on our organizational goals and cost objectives.
  • Select a time, place and team to focus on reform: We established an Office of Clinical Process Improvement along with a steering committee to guide the process and develop objectives for a new EMR system.

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The content shared in this blog post is the author’s opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of Xerox.  #FocusFriday is a weekly conversation helping people with productivity in the office.  Posts can be at the same time fun and serious, in the spirit of the Xerox’s Business of Your Brain app, yet always focused on what matters most, Real Business.