How an unexpected EHR project garnered Yuma Regional Medical Center national attention, CIO Fredrick Peet explains

Yuma (Ariz.) Regional Medical Center has been able to grab the attention of Cleveland Clinic for a new tech initiative, CIO Fredrick Peet told Becker's Hospital Review.

In July, Yuma Regional Medical Center integrated new Baxter infusion pumps with its EHR. With the data automatically uploaded to the patient records, providers are given more time to spend with patients. Additionally, the chances of data entry errors dramatically decrease.

The infusion pump project is not the only initiative Mr. Peet is spearheading. Below, he discusses what Yuma Regional Medical Center is doing to improve that patient experience as well as how his management style has evolved.

Editor note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question What are you doing at your hospital to improve the patient experience and outcomes?

Fredrick Peet: Four of our big initiatives are:

1. Sit-for-a Bit: Yuma Regional Medical Center is actively improving patient satisfaction simply by encouraging doctors and other providers to sit down. This past summer, YRMC’s Patient Experience Team launched what has already become a highly successful quality care initiative, all built around a sensitive and inclusive way of thinking — and a small stool in the patient’s room. The Sit for a Bit program encourages all care providers, anyone having a bedside conversation with a patient, to sit down and make their connection heart to heart … and eye to eye.

2. Rounding Tools: YRMC has enabled native rounding tools with its EHR (YRMCCare – Epic branded install). All nurses, leadership and staff are encouraged to round on their respective units throughout their shifts.

3. Voice of the Patient: YRMC utilizes Press Ganey to survey patients about their in-patient or out-patient experience with YRMC. We then are able to analyze the data and make meaningful improvements to processes that impact patient care. Along with survey data we have an active patient group that we discuss improvements and/or changes with and fold their feedback into our decisions.

4. Telemedicine: YRMC is launching a major venture into telemedicine early next year when we begin offering a Teledoc service that will bring virtual medical care right to patients’ computers and smartphones.

Q: How are you leveraging your EHR data or other data sets to improve efficiency and clinical care?

FP: YRMC’s EHR reinforces evidence-based practices and prevents errors through system checks and balances, including standardized order sets, limited open-text fields, best practice advisories, bar-code medication scanning, allergy alerts, best practice advisory alerts for medication orders, sepsis alerts, standardized dictionaries and drop-down menus.

Recently, YRMC became the first organization in the country to integrate new Baxter infusion pumps with an EHR. We did not know that we would be the first in the nation to embark on this project. Data flows from the Baxter pump via Wi-Fi to the flowsheet in the EHR. This frees up the nursing staff from having to manually enter the data, drastically decreasing the potential for data entry errors.

Since going live, Cleveland Clinic has expressed interest in coming to our hospital to review the integration.

Tracking boards are utilized throughout the organization — in the emergency department, Cardiac Cath Lab and surgery and adult acute care floors — to assist with communication regarding patient status for staff and patient family members.

We utilize the tools within the EHR to help with standardized reporting from unit to unit and shift to shift coordination of patient care.

We are honored that YRMC was recently recognized by College of Healthcare Information Management Executives as Most Wired for 2019.

Q: Who do you go to for advice?

FP: I seek out other Arizona CIO’s, especially those who are active with the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association. Our key strategic vendors, such as Epic and Infor, offer best practice advice and help with regulatory compliance. I also take advantage of my membership to professional organizations, such as the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives and KLAS Research.

Q: Looking back at your first year as CIO, 2015, what would you do differently? What do you wish you had known?

FP: Looking back, I would have taken a much deeper look into the IT division organization structure with a focus on ensuring maximum efficiency among teams and skill sets. Yuma is a hard-to-recruit location, so finding and retaining staff amounts to an ongoing struggle.

If I had a crystal ball, I would want to know what I don’t know. As a CIO you want to know where you have gaps — infrastructure, process, technology, skills, etc. — to hopefully avoid the unplanned events that affect our ability to treat our patients.

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