Citizens proves you can always make a good EMR better

You've no doubt heard countless times that an EMR is a journey, not a destination. It needs to be part of a movement toward continuous quality improvement.

Few organizations understand this better than Citizens Memorial Healthcare in Bolivar, Mo. CIO Denni McColm is not content being the first rural hospital to reach Stage 7 on the HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model. Sure, she also wants to qualify for "meaningful use" EMR incentive payments as soon as possible, but she also keeps looking for new ways to apply technology toward building a better health system.

I wrote in our sister publication FierceHealthIT back in March that McColm had concerns that affiliated physicians wouldn't be able to meet some of the quality reporting requirements for meaningful use. This is based on her own experiences building custom fields for doctors to participate in the Medicare Physician Quality Reporting Initiative.

Now we learn that Citizens is looking to improve interoperability by automating the process of interfacing the hospital's core Meditech EMR with other information systems. Summit Healthcare announced this week that Citizens has chosen the Summit Express Connect integration engine to interface the EMR with cardiac PACS and automate public-health reporting in the short term--for meaningful use purposes--and to smooth connectivity elsewhere in the future. "We feel confident that by laying the foundation with an interface engine we will quickly be able to also achieve our integration goals," McColm said in a press release.

Citizens also signed a contract for the Summit Scripting Toolkit to help build scripts and interfaces. "The Summit Scripting Toolkit will be the automation arm providing CMH with the ability to eliminate redundant tasks while also enabling system integration when HL7 connectivity is not an option," the press release explains.

Don't fully understand scripting? Neither do I. But I do understand that Citizens is not resting on its laurels. It wants to unlock all the power of its EMR and build a better care environment for its entire service area. Let this be a lesson to those content to install a basic EMR and pocket some of the federal cash. - Neil