The Scaling Culture Discussion at HIMSS12

IT is barreling into health care like it or not. So I’m glad to hear a common concern among its developers and implementers at HIMSS12 is that end users of this technology actually like it. At the Care Innovations Summit last month Christopher Chen, CEO of ChenMed, talked about how difficult it is to scale a culture that welcomes change. At a McKesson discussion panel today Ken Armstrong, senior vice president of IT and Informatics at ProMedica, talked about his organization’s approach to scaling that culture.

ProMedica is a nonprofit health care organization serving Ohio and southeast Michigan and involves an insurance company, 11 hospitals, long-term care, home care and ambulatory centers. ProMedica has an initiative called iCare — basically a support group for all those that have been affected by the twenty-something year old ProMedica system’s HIT facelift. Here’s what Armstrong said about the program:

“If you’re truly going to arrive at the endgame that we’re all talking about here today, you’ve got to have adoption, and you have to have true embedded resources that take this and say, yes, there is an advantage to having technology sitting in front of me. And it’s not IT coming across the room at me, you know, it’s more of a partnership and collaborative.

And we have made tremendous progress on that in transitioning our organization from an organization that saw IT as just that. Here they come, oh gosh. Rolling the eyes ― you know that kind of thing. We have a concept within ProMedica called iCare.

And iCare is our way of embracing all of this change, and not just for technology’s sake, but for the true adoption and change in the way we’re gonna deliver care over time. We’re gonna implement these systems and we’re going to have a huge impact on workflow as an example. We’re gonna have the opportunity to streamline and standardize processes. How do we do that in 11 hospitals without having a strategy that’s an umbrella that goes over the top? That’s what iCare is for us.

On that team, just to give you a sense is all of our presidents of our hospitals, presidents from our business units, our CNOs and we have a whole structure underneath that that is operationally based, key directors, key leaders that drive the technology. But not without having critical hallway discussions or private discussions about what are you doing about implementing technology in your facility? And that’s my role and my management team’s role to ask that of our leadership. What are the things and steps you are grabbing onto? Have you logged in? Have you even looked at the record?

And it’s been a great journey for us and very powerful. Once you reach that point where people, they came to us with a plan, and they’re driving us ― you know you’ve arrived.”

Health 2.0