The West Virginia Health Information Network was created by the state of West Virginia and charged with building a secure electronic health information system so providers could access and exchange patient data. The goal is to improve the quality of patient information and thereby enable providers to more quickly offer better care at lower costs. Among those leading the effort is Kathy Moore, CIO of the network. Moore is now working with hospitals and other healthcare providers in the state to get them connected to the exchange. "The exchange is now up and live, and we're focused on rollout and bringing on as many as possible," says Moore, a former deputy CTO for the state of West Virginia. Here she shares her thoughts on leading this huge IT project.
Family: Married, with four grown children
What accomplishment are you the most proud of? "I feel like I've helped a lot of others with their careers, and I feel good about that."
What's the best advice you've ever given to anyone? "Don't take it personally, it's just business."
And what's the best advice you've ever received? "'Never go down with an issue.' I got that from a college professor who used to be a state official who went down with an issue."
How do healthcare providers need to prepare for the new network? Technically [the electronic health records] need to be in one place, and organizationally [the providers] need to be ready, too. That's a big part of the onboarding process. You can connect up technically, but if you don't know how to use it, what data you want to contribute, how your employees are going to implement that, then you're not really ready.
What are the biggest challenges in building this system? Orchestrating everything. There are just so many players and so many factors. For example, for a single hospital to onboard, you've got a governance team, a technology team, a training team, patient notice, and support. Then there's our staff, the vendor, their staff, their policies, our polices, training and ongoing support. So getting all those moving parts working is a challenge. And there are so many different vendors selling [electronic health record systems] to doctors, so each one is a different connection.
Is the technology side a bigger challenge than the other parts of the project? I think they're equally impactful because it really is any one of those pieces that can cause the entire thing to not work well or not get adopted. On the technology side, everybody is hitting the market with [application options] at the same time without necessarily seeing what's ahead with some of the future requirements. A lot of people are offering the same services, so you have to be careful not to step on each other's toes in what you're trying to provide to the customer. We don't intend to, but sometimes it appears that way, because some of the larger vendors are offering their own private [exchanges]. What they end up doing is connecting anyone who has their product together.
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