How Bluetree Network CMIO Dr. Stephen Beck boosts EHR engagement among technology 'naysayers'

Stephen Beck, MD, brings more than 20 years of experience working with Epic to his role as chief medical information officer at Bluetree Network, a Madison, Wis.-based Epic consulting firm.

Dr. Beck also serves as interim CMIO of WellStar health system in Atlanta. An internal medicine physician, Dr. Beck is board certified in clinical informatics. Prior to joining Bluetree Network, he was CMIO at Cincinnati-based Mercy Health.

Here, Dr. Beck discusses EHR customization and why it's important to approach innovation with "small tests of change."

Editor's Note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What is one recent initiative you've taken to customize your EHR system?

Dr. Stephen Beck: Implementing a direct integration with the prescription drug monitoring program state database was an important project to not only meet our state regulations for opioid standard prescribing practices, but also making it easy to navigate EHR data. Being able to access this information with one click saves our providers three minutes each time it is used.

Q: What advice do you have for other hospitals looking to implement an EHR customization?

SB: Keep in mind EHR systems are complicated. Finding ways to simplify and streamline the display of data helps all providers improve patient care, and it is always enhancement time well spent.

Q: How do you promote innovation among your team members?

SB: It is always wonderful to use the successful experience of other health systems to springboard your own ideas. Remember, a third-party solution may take you away from great ideas within your health system. Start with small tests of change.

Q: What has been one of your most memorable moments as CMIO?

SB: When a provider is a 'naysayer' about technology, and I see them engaging with an EHR and proving they can successfully use it — this always brings me immense joy. As technology changes, we must learn to adapt to it. Being the change agent for providers is what keeps me grounded in my work.

To participate in future Becker's Q&As, contact Jackie Drees at

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