When it comes to EHR adoption, CIO Dee Cantrell knows first-hand that patience is a virtue. Emory’s steady rise up the 7-rung HIMSS Analytics scale dates to 2000, when the four-hospital health system devised its game plan for an enterprise EHR. Implementation work began in earnest five years ago, Cantrell recalls, and just this past April, Emory was certified by HIMSS as attaining Stage 6. After evaluating the technology stack in place, the HIMSS judges urged the CIO to apply for Stage 7 right away. But even though Cantrell says Emory might technically qualify, she wants to wait until the health system has put a more robust health information exchange in place. “We want to exchange Continuity of Care Records between disparate EHRs,” she says.

A nurse by training, Cantrell says the biggest hurdle in arriving at the next-to-highest rung on the EHR ladder has little to do with technology. “The biggest hurdle is the amount of change an organization can absorb at one time,” she says. “We had huge go-lives every year. And then minor go-lives in between. That is a lot of change to undertake.”

Cantrell will be among featured speakers at Health Data Management’s Health IT Summit, which is set for Nov. 14-16 in Chicago. For information, go to: http://www.healthdatamanagement.com/conferences/hdm/


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