Trinity's health informatics vision

As Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health continues to transition all of its hospitals, ambulatory care centers and physician offices to an Epic EHR, Murielle Beene, DNP, RN, senior vice president and chief health informatics officer, told Becker's that her team's primary objectives for the remainder of the year include optimizing the new EHR for its end users.  

In 2018, the health system opted for Epic as it looked to have a single, unified EHR system after operating on multiple EHRs. The move, which was expected to be completed in four years, was delayed due to COVID-19. 

Becker's spoke to Dr. Beene about optimizing Epic, the evolving landscape of healthcare informatics, Trinity's successful initiative to enhance nurse training efficiency and her excitement for leveraging technology to address workforce challenges in healthcare.

Question: What are the key objectives and goals of your health informatics team for the rest of the year?

Dr. Murielle Beene: We went live on Epic back in 2019. And we are still in the midst of that implementation. So the majority of our work is about our end users and figuring out how we are getting the best out of our Epic EHR. So we're really focused on how we can incorporate it into their day-to-day workflows as well as getting them really comfortable with technology.  

Another area of focus is that we are in the midst of a reorganization. We're focused on bringing the health informatics team together as one team. We're on our journey of becoming a system service, meaning that we're going to be one team, agnostic of geographic locations. 

Q: How do you see healthcare informatics evolving in the next five to 10 years, and how is your organization preparing for these changes?

MB: Health informatics is still a difficult discipline to understand. There's still barriers in understanding how you differ from IT. So that journey is still something in our vision that we must continue to elaborate and elucidate for people to understand how we add that value back to an organization. 

As for Trinity, there is an immaturity in understanding data and how data is applied, and Trinity is not alone in this.  

How is data captured in a standard manner? How is it applied? And how do you take those insights and transform them into knowledge that becomes new learnings? 

My vision for this health informatics team within Trinity is to have us incorporate these new learnings into this very complex adaptive healthcare system. 

Q: Can you share some recent successful projects or initiatives that your team has been involved in?

MB: We were able to find some efficiencies in how we deliver enterprise training, meaning we worked on how many hours of training we could give back to our nurses. 

Our nurses were spending all this time on training, but needed to be on the floor taking care of patients, so we came to a middle ground. We know that nurses need the training to ensure they are using these systems safely, but we knew we could create better efficiencies. 

We did this by making sure that our content was more tailored to our end users instead of being broad. 

Q: What emerging technologies or trends in healthcare informatics are you particularly excited about, and how might they impact the industry?

MB: What I would love to see more investment in is how we can leverage technology and different processes to start to solve some of the workforce crises that we have in healthcare. 

We need to start looking at different ways we can deliver care leveraging health information technology. 

For example, how do we come together, look at different care models and then have technology support them so that we don't have such a burden on the staff that we currently have? 

I believe that there is still work to be done there, but that really brings me excitement to know that there's more development there. 

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