William “Buddy” Gillespie, vice president and chief technology officer at two-hospital WellSpan Health, is getting ready to retire at the end of March. Until then, though, Gillespie is fully on the job, which includes representing WellSpan at HIMSS11 to negotiate several vendor agreements, make sure the organization is on the right track to achieve meaningful use of electronic health records and learn more about how health information exchange can support Accountable Care Organizations.

“There’s so much going on there [at HIMSS], you just have to pick and choose,” the health I.T. veteran says. Gillespie has chosen to meet with many of his current vendors and even some prospective new ones in hopes of wrapping up contracts.

Unlike many of his colleagues, Gillespie does like to conduct business in the hectic environment of HIMSS. “We try to use that opportunity because the vendors are there,” he says.

WellSpan is shopping for a PACS-neutral archiving system to augment the EHR app the health system has been working on for several years. Gillespie continues to help refine the technology infrastructure with features such as analytics so that WellSpan will be able to apply for Stage 1 meaningful use incentive payments from CMS by the fall. “We’re very close,” he says. “I think a lot of what’s going on now is icing on the cake.”

Gillespie, who chairs the HIE committee of the Pennsylvania eHealth Initiative, will be attending HIE sessions with hopes for improving health information exchange—particularly the exchange of laboratory results—between WellSpan’s Cerner inpatient system and the Allscripts ambulatory EHR in place at health system-owned physician practices. Gillespie also wants to find out how its HIE efforts might be able to help WellSpan become a designated Accountable Care Organization, which are authorized by the Affordable Care Act. “We’re anxious to see [at HIMSS] what the major talking points will be,” he says.

--Neil Versel

 

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