An education session at HIMSS13 in New Orleans will walk through the basics and benefits of having a clinical help desk--separate from a hospital’s typical information technology help desk--when an enterprise electronic health records system has been implemented.

The goal is to give physicians, nurses and other clinicians their own support, getting them service quickly without having to go through multiple personnel to find the right one for the issue or question at hand, says Danielle Sun, manager of clinical systems and senior project manager at eight-hospital Detroit Medical Center.

CMS outsourced much of its information technology operations in 1999 to CareTech Solutions in nearby Troy, Mich., a relationship that continues today. The clinical help desk went in when DMC’s Cerner Millennium EHR went live in 2007. CareTech and DMC split the duties, with CareTech handling about 80 percent of support. DMC handles system issues such as analyzing coding or systems configuration problems, or working on specific desktops with problems that cannot be resolved through a remote connection to CareTech.

The real value of an outsourced clinical help desk is the ability of the vendor to have dedicated staff cross-trained in multiple components of an enterprise system and available 24/7/365, a task the outsourcer can do at considerably less cost than the client, Sun says. DMC also has a lower number of internal staff cross-trained and even that level requires commitment from the organization, she contends. “You need to educate, certify and get the helpdesk staff the tools and resources they need.”

Education session 123, “Is it Time for a Clinical Help Desk,” is scheduled at 8:30 a.m. on March 6.

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