Thomason Health System

There is a significant shift towards an integrated healthcare system that provides coordinated care while trying to eliminate the gaps in shared information and communication that affect patient safety and care. Effective integrated systems have comprehensive care and preventive services that increase the organization’s capacity to be patient-focused across the continuum of care. Leadership, teamwork, and communication are essential for a successful integrated healthcare system that can manage the delivery of seamless and well-coordinated care for patients.

Responding to this trend is Thomason Health System (THS), a non-profit organization that has recently made the transition to a fully integrated healthcare system. THS is located in a suburb of Houston, Texas, and consists of one hospital, five clinics, one hospice facility, and 800 staff members (78 administrators, 132 doctors, 220 nurses,

160 technicians, 85 facilities, and 125 support staff). THS’s mission is to practice medicine and care as an integrated team of compassionate, multi-disciplinary physicians, nurses, and health professionals who are focused on the complete health needs of the patients. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), developing an accountable integrated healthcare organization will help an organization monitor patient needs and outcomes, use performance data and indicators for organizational and staff assessment, and implement new forms of reimbursement that result in improved quality while keeping costs checked.

Under the leadership of CEO Maggie Tweedy, MD, THS will undergo a huge information technology infrastructure update with electronic medical records (EMR) system and policy. EMR will provide crucial information when treating individual patients throughout different points of care as well as provide data regarding the effectiveness of treatments and staff within the system. Both the Joint Commission (JC) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) have stated that EMRs will also significantly contribute to the collection of empirical and longitudinal evidence without creating an undue burden on the organization. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act place new importance on the widespread adoption and meaningful use of EMRs.

However, there have been instances of hesitation from the staff, and several staff members have vocalized their displeasure and lack of enthusiasm for EMRs. THS is committed to preserving the highest standards of care while the technology infrastructure is being updated, but understands the need for a cultural adoption. Unengaged staff will become dissatisfied and the lack of buy-in will interrupt communication, high-quality service, and workflow within the system. Before the roll out of EMRs, the board of directors has asked you to create an onboarding team charged with the cultural adoption of EMRs by THS.

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