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Cantrell Awarded CHIME Innovator of the Year

October 28, 2011

For Georgia’s Emory Healthcare, having a highly integrated and coordinated approach to registering patients was crucial to maximizing the efficiency of care and delivering the best patient experience. Its solution, called Global Patient Registration, helps set the entire process in motion.

Dedra Cantrell, Emory’s CIO, directed development of the application, which the Atlanta-based healthcare organization calls the single source of truth for patient registration data. Cantrell’s role in the project has earned her the 2011 Innovator of the Year Award by College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), given this week at the CHIME11 Fall CIO Forum in San Antonio, Texas.

The Global Patient Registration (GPR) tool includes existing applications, surrounding application development, new third-party products and introduction of new services to move data quickly and effectively.

As Cantrell and her team began to study the registration process and separate systems’ need for data, it found that data could originate in three different applications, interact with two separate billing systems and interface to many other applications that are used later in the process of patient care.

Emory’s solution had to meet several requirements, she said. It had to leverage an existing enterprise master patient index to enable patient registration from a single application. It had to standardize the patient data model and the patient registration process, as well as searches for patient information.

GPR also was intended to help users by using computer-driven requirements, process and business rules to help them through the registration process. And it was intended to improve patient experiences by eliminating their need to answer duplicative questions in different areas of the organization.

The application has helped by improving data quality, patient safety and patient satisfaction, among other benefits, said Cantrell.

“At Emory Healthcare, we have recognized the importance of frontline investment to the achievement of critical priorities and have set this as the foundation of many of our projects and changes,” Cantrell said. “The benefits take time to see, but are worth the investment. We believe this frontline investment is a part of the critical path to the survival of our organization and will be critical to the healthcare industry in general.”

While GPR sounds simple in concept, it was difficult to execute, and involved significant effort from Emory Healthcare’s IT department, she said.

“When you implement a project like our Global Patient Registration, it is not always understood at first,” she said. “How we fundamentally do things in our patient access workflows has changed, and change is never easy. To have the validation from my peers and the appreciation of the enormity of the project we implemented is a wonderful feeling.”

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