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Case Study: Influencer Training Helps Tennessee Health System Achieve 100% EHR Adoption


The Context
When the economy took a turn for the worse in 2009, the U.S. government enacted an economic stimulus package to save and create jobs, as well as invest in infrastructures, education, health, and energy.

Part of that stimulus included the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act that offered incentives through Medicare and Medicaid to physicians who adopted a certified Electronic Health Records (EHR) system and demonstrated a meaningful use of this new technology. Further, physicians who refuse to adopt an EHR by 2015 will face financial penalties.

The Challenge
Eager to comply with the stimulus act and incur the benefits of an EHR system, McKenzie Medical Center located in McKenzie, Tennessee, set a goal in September 2010 to achieve 100 percent EHR adoption by January 1, 2011 and collect the full stimulus payment.

The EHR adoption team, lead by physician and managing partner Volker Winkler, M.D., recognized that EHR adoption is a behavior challenge rather than simply a software implementation process—a realization many clinics and healthcare IT providers overlook.

With that understanding, Dr. Winkler knew his system faced an uphill battle in changing three hundred employees. His workforce had used paper records for decades and wasn’t technologically savvy. For example, their urologist didn’t own a cell phone or have an e-mail address.

Dr. Winkler knew they needed help to overcome resistance to EHR adoption and change long-standing behaviors.

The Training
Prior to their September launch, Dr. Winkler and his team attended a conference hosted by their EHR provider. In one session, they heard a VitalSmarts speaker teach the Influencer model for changing behavior.

Intrigued by the prospects the Influencer model offered for their initiative, Dr. Winkler brought VitalSmarts in to train fourteen managers in Influencer Training. The management team consisted of clinical nurse leaders, lab directors, satellite clinic managers, one physician, and one managing partner.

The Solution: Read our case study to learn how McKenzie Medical Center used the Influencer model to achieve their ambitious goal of 100 percent EHR adoption in less than four months.

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