Featuring: Lynn Miller from Doylestown Health
Name: Lynn Miller
Job Title: Director of Applications
Hospital: Doylestown Health
Favorite holiday tradition: We get oranges from Florida and then my husband makes fresh squeezed orange juice every year for the holidays. It’s those traditions that I didn’t even know I was creating when my kids were young.
Hot chocolate with or without marshmallows: No marshmallows…whipped cream!
Team work makes the dream work—yay or nay? Mark Doylestown Health in Doylestown, Pennsylvania as a firm yay.
In this first episode of Merry Medisolving, we feature Lynn Miller, a former nurse who took on the world of IT as the director of applications at Doylestown Health seven years ago. In addition to acclimating to a completely different niche and skill set, she had to familiarize herself with a new regulatory program that was just beginning at that time: Meaningful Use.
Here, Lynn talks to us about transitioning from nursing to IT, and how collaboration between different departments has led to improved organizational processes and quality reporting success.
What does it mean to be a director of Applications? Can you talk to me a little bit about your everyday role at the hospital?
I work in the applications and support department, so we do everything from managing projects and implementation to creating everything in our system. We do more than just build screens. We help everyone figure out their different options when they’re looking to change processes.
My day depends on the needs of the organization. I’ve become the go-to support person after being here for so long
Yes, you've been at doylestown for 17 years now!
How have things evolved and changed with all the regulatory program requirements that come into play since you first started as a nurse?
When I took on my role as director of applications, Meaningful Use was just coming to fruition. We were just in stage one and changing processes, and I had no idea about any of that coming from a nursing position.
This whole world that I took over – which involves things like understanding configurations – was definitely an adjustment. Before, I could just sit in the back and build my screens for nursing and we’d be fine. Since then, it has really become an integrated effort between all the departments.
Ultimately, we’re required to make the system work a certain way…but how do we make it work within the workflow of the requirements? That was a brand-new challenge for me.
So how did you go about overcoming that challenge?
One of the very first measures we turned on in our system was VTE- Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis. That meant that the provider couldn’t enter in an admission order without addressing VTE. So, that was a huge culture change for them. But since I can see both sides of things coming from a clinical background, I’ve been able to help by explaining to the providers why it is that we’re having to make these changes.
And part of ensuring that these changes are made is working closely with all the different departments within the hospital like Health Information Management (HIM) and Quality.
Can you give me an example of how your department works with these different departments?
It’s especially important to work together with Quality when we’re preparing for submissions to CMS and The Joint Commission hospital quality reporting programs. We sit down with Quality, look at the data and pick which quarter we’re going to submit. We also work toward identifying issues and then meet to discuss how we can start making improvements.
In your opinion, as someone who comes from IT, how important is that relationship with Quality and the other departments within the hospital?
It’s huge. We need to work together to understand what we’re up against. And with everything being electronic now, a process change can’t be made without IT.
The work that we do together is really the key foundation to everything we’re doing. Over the past seven years, we’ve embedded ourselves into the organization and put ourselves on all the committees that exist in the hospital. I have an IT representative on each committee including Quality, Sepsis and Critical Care. Establishing this integrated process has really helped us to stay on the same page and be successful.
So, how do you track all your measures and ensure you’re ready for your quality submissions?
We were doing things manually before, but now we have Medisolv’s ENCOR for Hospital Electronic Measures software and it’s fantastic. It’s really our reference point for everything. We’re able to track all our measures in one place, see how we’re doing and choose which measures we’re going to report for the regulatory programs.
Can you talk to me about the transition from doing everything manually to having a Health Information Technology (HIT) platform in place?
I wish I had counted all the hours of time it has saved! It really has become a time saver for me. During the first couple years of Meaningful Use, we were running a weekly report manually for multiple measures. I had to manually copy and paste everything from the report onto an excel sheet so that we could present the data to the team. It was not fun.
Now I have a beautiful dashboard that I can download to excel and then validate all the information—it’s awesome. When we first started using Medisolv, the dashboard was red and green, so I called it my Christmas present! It has made things so much easier for someone like me who was manually doing everything for Meaningful Use including making sure our numbers were correct and that Quality knew what we were doing.
Has that impacted your confidence level in the accuracy of the measures at all?
Yes. I always worried every time our EHR went through an update that the data would be wrong. It was so much manual work for numerous measures that you just couldn’t be sure, but I had to rely on the fact that the data was there.
Now I have a trusted relationship with Medisolv. The consultants that I work with understand the questions I ask and all of our organization’s needs. And with the possibility of an audit, having that security is so important. I feel confident now that our measures are tried-and-true and accurate.
What about your reporting process?
The process is just much smoother and easier to understand. The biggest value is that now I have a point person (Pam) who helps me to understand the new requirement changes every year. She helps with so many things such as explaining which dictionary to use and which fields need to be mapped differently for the new reporting year. She’s a godsend—it is such a tedious process, but she’s there to provide me with all the information I need.
It’s just a really great integrated effort between Medisolv and Doylestown. They help to make sure that we’re not missing our mark or forgetting to do anything for any of the regulatory programs.
What advice would you give to hospitals that might be struggling with government requirements?
I think the biggest piece is the integrated effort between all the departments to improve your measures. You’re not going to be able to do it just with Quality and IT. Having an HIT like ENCOR is a great tool to help improve the process, but in order to really achieve success and move forward with things, everyone has to work together.