Connecting Clinical and IT with Tiffany Feazell
After 13 years of updates and added functionalities to Claiborne Memorial Medical Center’s MEDHOST systems, new employee training had become somewhat disjointed and nonuniform.
During a systems evaluation and optimization, and with guidance from MEDHOST implementation specialists, Claiborne’s IT Clinical Analyst, Tiffany Faezell, was able to standardize training on EHR systems and other MEDHOST products.
Faezell discusses how by working side-by-side with the MEDHOST team, she was able to create a roadmap to building more consistency into the Claiborne workflow and show her colleagues how to get the most out of their tools.
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Tiffany Faezell: We had users from MEDHOST come in and sit with our doctors and sit with our nurses – hands on training to kind of bring everyone up to speed with how the system was meant to be used and, moving forward, I took the training points that were used in the optimization to build my own class for the new hires.
Host: You just heard from Tiffany Faezell, the IT clinic analyst at Claiborne Memorial Medical Center. She’s helped Claiborne adjust to a variety of record systems in her 13 years there. In this episode, Tiffany discusses her experience in trying to bridge the gap between the clinical and IT sides of a hospital.
Tiffany: Healthcare is always changing. There’s always something new to learn, some new technology to put in place, and so you have to be ready for anything. You can’t just continue to do things the same way you’ve always done them. You have to be ready to make the changes that are being passed down.
Host: This is Health IT on the Record presented by MEDHOST, a show that explores how innovations in health information technology impact every aspect of a health system from multi hospital networks down to individual patients. In just a moment, Tiffany’s going to share how they train their new employees and keep their existing team sharp. Enjoy the conversation.
Tiffany: Hello, my name is Tiffany Faezell. I’m the IT clinical analyst at Claiborne Memorial Medical Center in Homer, Louisiana.
Host: Tiffany, thanks so much for sharing your story here. I’m really eager to hear not only your perspective and what you’re doing, but also just kind of some context – you’re a hospital, some of the things that you’re contributing to. And I know you, in particular, have a really interesting perspective on bridging this gap in between clinical and IT. We’ll get to that later. But in the meantime, can you just paint us a picture of where you’re at now, this community that you call your home? Let’s start there.
Tiffany: Claiborne Memorial Medical Center is in a little town of Homer, Louisiana. Population here in the town is roughly about 2000 people in the parish. We serve the entire parish. Claiborne Parish is under 5000 people in the entire parish. It’s a very rural area. Luckily we’re just a wonderful small rural hospital.
Host: Nice. And when you first started, was that 13 years? Or eight years in pharmacy? Can you give me a little timeline here?
Tiffany: I started working at the hospital when it was still Homer Memorial Hospital back in 2005. I’ve been here roughly 13 years. I spent eight years working as a pharmacy tech. I was here when we implemented what was then HMS in the hospital. I was responsible for the implementation and subsequent rollout in pharmacy, the build and all things that go along with that.
Rock on to 2013, I made the transition from pharmacy to IT. There was a need to kind of bridge the gap between the clinical world and the IT world, to be able to kind of speak to the technical side of the system, but still be able to do it in a way that clinical users could understand. That was my role then, kind of all things patient care, clinical view, the web application, file maintenance, anything that had to do with the clinical world. And then also learning the ins and outs of the IT department in a hospital. That was new for me, but it was a welcome challenge.
Tiffany: I did that for about a year and then was asked to take over the materials management department, central supply purchasing. I did that as well as my IT duties, still doing the clinical side of the IT world, along with materials management purchasing. I did that from 2014 until the end of 2017 when they asked me to move back over to IT full time and take over kind of a clinical trainer role where any new people, new employees that come into the hospital, kind of teach them the ins and outs of the system. Not necessarily teach a nurse how to do their job, but to kind of teach them how the system functions, how to use it properly, and the best way to optimize their workflow while using the system.
Host: Wow. And I know you are quite the super user today on MEDHOST products. You know the ins and outs, like you just said, you’re training other folks on just how to use this system and how to make sure everything can flow together. You’re doing that, patient accounting, financials, materials management. You’re doing a lot. I’m curious, since you have now seen so many different perspectives, what’s your classic disconnect example? Not to pick on your hospital at all, but just in the industry, what’s like a pretty clear and obvious disconnect that you’ve seen between clinical and IT and how have you maybe solved that challenge?
Tiffany: Back a couple years ago the conversation came up about bringing MEDHOST back in to try to evaluate how we’re using each of their products, to see, “Are we using them correctly? How can we improve some of our workflows and processes?” Luckily back at the end of 2017 and early this year, we were able to have the MEDHOST optimization team out. They came and did a discovery, kind of evaluated each of our areas – clinicals, financials, patient accounting – to see how we’re using the system.
Tiffany: Then after that they sent us a report and then came back out onsite to do the training. We had users from MEDHOST come in and sit with our doctors and sit with our nurses – hands on training to kind of bring everyone up to speed with how the system was meant to be used and maybe what our shortcomings were. I was able to use a lot of what was done in optimization and the training that I built afterwards. So moving forward, I took the training points that were used in the optimization to build my own class for the new hires that come here to the hospital.
Host: That’s really neat. I didn’t know you made your own class. That’s super cool. What’s the most surprising thing that people find when they’re starting with your class from the very beginning?
Tiffany: What ends up happening is we had people who started out, you know, when we rolled it out in 2008 and they learned one way and over the years things have changed. You know, you’ve got new functionality, phased out some old functionality, and sometimes that gets lost in translation. What typically happens is you have users who, they’ve been using the system the same way always, and then you have new people who come on board and they train them the way that they’ve always done it.
Host: I see exactly where we’re going with that and that makes sense. How do you break that pattern? I guess do you start them all the same from the beginning?
Tiffany: That’s absolutely correct. We start them all in the same way in the beginning. When they come here for orientation, they spend a half a day with me just kind of learning, “Okay, these are the points that we’ve been hit with on an audit. These are the things an auditor is going to look for. Let’s make sure that we have these right from the get go.” Then also, these are the things that we have found our charts are lacking or these are the things that are done incorrectly. Let’s get those all out there. Let’s teach everyone the same way. So, when you do have new hires come to the floor or come to different departments, everyone should be doing it the same way.
Host: It makes sense. Now to kind of zoom out and return to this part of the conversation where we’re looking at the disconnect between clinical and IT. Since you have worn both hats, what’s maybe something you would like the other side to know? Like if you were to maybe where your clinical hat, what’s something you would wish IT would know and if you wear the IT hat, what’s something you would like the clinical side to know and, and how can we learn from that?
Tiffany: Something that I would like as a clinical user is, IT should always understand that we are clinical. We don’t always understand the way the IT side of the world works. Sometimes what seems absolutely obvious to an IT person is not going to be quite as obvious to someone who’s clinical.
Host: That makes sense. How about this, as we’re starting to wrap up, I’m just curious: As you reflect back on these 13 years, what you’ve been seeing in all these different pockets within a health system, as you think about what’s coming up next, what sort of a vibe that you’re feeling right now? When you reflect on where we’ve been, where we’re going, what’s on your mind?
Tiffany: You know healthcare is always changing. There’s always something new to learn, some new technology to put in place. That’s kind of the theme these days, you have to be ready for anything. You can’t just continue to do things the same way you’ve always done them. You have to be ready to make the changes that are being passed down.
Host: Tiffany, I am just so thrilled that we got to talk. I know you have so much passion in what you do. You’ve worn several different hats. You care a great deal about the patients you’re serving. Just from your viewpoint today as an IT analyst, what are you most excited about? What’s next? And then we’ll wrap.
Tiffany: Absolutely. Earlier this year we were able to move from server onsite to MEDHOST Direct, which means our server is hosted in a data center maintained by a whole team of people who, that’s their sole responsibility, is to make sure that our data is taken care of, our servers are taken care of.
That really frees us up here to focus on other things. To focus on the things that our team of people here at the hospital need us to focus on, whether that be building reports or making changes in the system. It’s really, really given us a lot of extra time to focus on things that we otherwise couldn’t have in the beginning when we were more focused on daily tape backups or system saves every quarter. That’s not on us to do anymore. It’s really given us some of our time back to focus on other things.
Host: All that time adds up. Well, Tiffany, thanks again. I really enjoyed it and I hope our paths cross again soon. We can have another conversation like this and who knows what other hat you’ll be wearing then.
Tiffany: Thank you so much. I appreciate your time.
Host: Thanks for listening to Health IT on the Record presented by MEDHOST. For more stories and content like this, be sure to visit medhost.com/resources. Thanks.