I have said for many years—and health care reform is increasingly clarifying this fact—that if we are to increase the quality of our care and reduce our costs, we need to have efficient and effective technology systems in place that support consumer interaction and make it easier to implement evidence-based medical protocols.
At CHRISTUS, we have been focusing on:
• IT systems that are data-driven
• Our ongoing Unity Project to connect not only our existing acute care systems, but also connecting our U.S. operations to those in Mexico and our non-acute divisions
• A firm schedule for implementing these improvements and changes
• Physician involvement and supporting them as possible in these changes
I have said many times that physician alignment will be key to our future, and this includes alignment with our IT systems.
Physician usage and adoption of our current data system will also be critical to the overall success of our system-wide Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) efforts. The move to electronic medical records and CPOE is closely aligned with quality patient care. Although the quality improvement benefits to automation will not occur overnight, we remain confident that positive results will be widely recognized.