Web Extra

Boosting Telework and EHRs


Providing the capabilities for staff to work from home and using EHRs to their full capabilities are two ways organizations can take advantage of information technology.

Telework Capabilities
Allowing staff to be able to work virtually has been one priority for health systems, as has communicating safely with communities.

“Our core network infrastructure and virtual desktop solutions allowed us to move thousands of employees, in a matter of days, to work remotely from the safety of their homes,” says Lisa Stump, senior vice president, information systems/CIO, Yale New Haven (Conn.) Health System, and an ACHE Member. “Tele-collaboration facilitated important human connections from a safe social distance, from small meetings to large employee town halls to public open forums hosting thousands of participants at a time.”

Better Use of EHRs
Taking advantage of resources already at their fingertips, such as the tools and capabilities embedded in health systems’ existing EHRs, also has proven invaluable in the fight against COVID-19.

“Our EMR allowed us to disseminate care protocols and guidelines at the point of care as our understanding of the disease and its treatments were evolving,” says Stump.

For Altru Health System in Grand Forks, N.D., having a strong EMR foundation made it easier for the organization to set up in-room monitoring of patients via tablets, according to executive vice president/CIO Mark Waind. The health system helped create similar virtual setups for some of its regional partners to help safely monitor patients in nursing homes. The organization plans to leverage even more features in its EMR going forward, such as COVID home monitoring and a symptom checker module, according to Waind.

“If we can harness all the tools available to us, we really can control costs and efficiency while delivering quality,” says Altru President Steven Weiser, MD, an ACHE Member.

Jessica D. Squazzo is a Chicago-area-based writer and editor.


CEOs, CIOs Weigh in on the Ascending Role of IT

Technology has played an essential role as organizations nationwide navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For the CEOs and CIOs who helm today’s most successful healthcare organizations and IT departments, this isn’t surprising; they know IT is already—or will soon be—integrated in virtually all areas of care delivery.