Lack of Clinical Buy-in Precipitated EHR Failures at Athens Regional, Say Cerner Officials

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"Successful projects — and this is true across the board — are clinically driven, not IT-driven," Cerner Vice President Ben Hilmes told the Athens Banner-Herald.

This is not what happened during the electronic health record implementation at Athens (Ga.) Regional Health System, according to another Cerner official. Cerner Vice President Michael Robin told the Banner-Heraldthe company noticed about halfway through the implementation the health system's IT department was leading the project, with clinical leadership on the sidelines.

The lack of clinical buy-in may have led to the troubled launch of the EHR. Less than two weeks after the May 5 go-live, clinical leaders began lodging complaints the new system was compromising patient safety.

According to the physicians' letter, the EHR had led to "medication errors ... orders being lost or overlooked ... (emergency department) patients leaving after long waits; and of an inpatient who wasn't seen by a physician for (five) days," according to a snippet of the letter quoted in the Banner-Herald.

Both Athens Regional CEO James Thaw and CIO Gretchen Tegetoff resigned in the wake of the troubled implementation, and Cerner deployed additional support personnel to get the EHR running smoothly and aid in workflow adjustments.

Athens Regional CMO James Moore, MD, currently serving as the health system's main administrator, confirmed the implementation was fairly one-sided. "Could there have been more information shared at the administrative level? I suppose you could make that argument," he told the Banner-Herald. "The implementation was through the CIO, and so that's where the information was held."

More Articles on Athens Regional:

Mid-Year Report: 250 CEO Moves So Far in 2014
Who's Responsible When IT Projects Fail? Everyone
CEO Resigns Over EHR Fail — Is Your Job at Risk?

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