But the journey hit a road bump when it came to user adoption. Midland's new administration had promised employees -- which include some 800 clinical staff, 200 physicians, and 300 auxiliary workers -- that they wouldn't have to wait in line for a computer. "We put in an enormous amount of workstations around the hospital to accommodate that [promise], a lot more than we originally planned," Whiles says.
Even worse, many Midland staffers had never used a computer in their lives. One person chose to retire rather than learn about computers and EHR. Thus, Whiles created an aggressive campaign to teach people how to use the EHR system.
Whiles offered $1,000 to doctors who demonstrated that they were using the system through electronic signage and order entry, and he identified stragglers using the same metrics. "We targeted them every week," he says. Whiles also put out a monthly newsletter promoting EHR benefits and even created a naming contest -- the system is now called Edith.
The perseverance paid off, as now "everyone knows Edith," Whiles says. Midland rounded up charts in February and now runs completely on EHR. "The administration would never have allowed that if they didn't think the system was successful," he says.
This spring, the Health Information Management and Systems Society recognized Midland for having one of the highest levels of automation. The $7 million price tag for an assembled system, as opposed to $22 million for a top-of-the-line system, makes it sweeter. Sure, "Cadillac" EHR systems probably have more features and less need for tweaking code and building interfaces, says Whiles, "but I'll put ours up against anyone's."
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