Rural hospitals and healthcare facilities could benefit the most from having access to health IT and remote monitoring systems, but they are also the least likely to have the resources necessary to integrate these platforms into their existing practices. Hiring a healthcare IT consulting service is helpful to meet some of these goals, although doing so is merely a first step for decision makers at these locations.
Although insufficient financial resources is always a challenge for these facilities, one area that not enough providers address is the knowledge deficit that may exist among its employees.
In an interview with Becker's Hospital Review, Kelly Cariker, the CIO of a rural hospital in Washington, details some of the ways she has helped bring her own staff on board with necessary health IT reforms. For Cariker, a small staff and a fierce preference for older practices initially proved to be sizable barriers to health IT adoption, until she instituted new programs that caused her staff to become more invested in the process.
"Before we can move forward to meet meaningful use, we have to take a step backward and train the staff so they are comfortable with computers," Cariker said. "We need to go back and build a strong computer foundation so the nurses and staff can be confident when using the technology. Problems can't throw them into a panic when they are using EHRs. Everyone needs to be comfortable before we can start pursuing meaningful use."
Cariker's testimony is especially important given a Health Affairs study that this blog reported on last week, which determined that smaller practices were increasingly lagging behind their larger counterparts in the areas of EMR and health IT adoption. Facilities that are concerned they may not be meeting meaningful use requirements should turn to healthcare consulting services for all their related needs.