Stoltenberg Consulting Helps Community Hospitals Get on the Fast Track Toward EHR Success

Small, nonteaching and rural hospitals adopt electronic health records more slowly than larger provider organizations, according to an American Hospital Association study based on data from 3,233 U.S. hospitals. Even though the research revealed that the percent of hospitals overall with an EHR in place had increased since the introduction of the Meaningful Use incentive program, gaps in rates of adoption increased as well, with small, non-teaching and rural hospitals falling further behind other larger providers.

“Meaningful Use is definitely driving hospitals toward electronic health records but the smaller community and rural hospitals are in a difficult position,” says Shane Pilcher, vice president at Stoltenberg Consulting. “Remember, it’s a reimbursement program. So, these hospitals have to make a financial, human and time investment in EHRs before reaping the benefits. While it is difficult, they realize that they have to do something, or they will not only miss out on incentives but they will start to incur penalties, which might eventually cause them to close the doors.”

Stoltenberg Consulting, a Pittsburgh-based health IT consulting firm, is supporting three initiatives that are designed to level the EHR playing field and help community hospitals more expediently reach EHR and meaningful use success.

The ACHIEVE Program provides leadership for community hospitals seeking to meet meaningful use based on best practices and rapid deployment strategies.

“The majority of attesters at this time are larger facilities.  Our program helps the community hospitals get on board.  We help them develop a strategic plan and then we work closely with these providers, helping to reduce typical implementation times by as much as 50 percent,” Pilcher says. For example, Stoltenberg is able to reduce order set development time considerably by bringing its deep resources into the mix.

In addition, Stoltenberg’s Help Desk Service Line, a live, 24/7 IT service provides targeted electronic health records support. By relying on the Help Desk Service Line, community hospitals with limited resources can focus more keenly on more strategic implementation issues, while Stoltenberg’s U.S.-based professionals handle the details and enable staff to overcome daily challenges.

“By providing Tier 1 and optional Tier 2 support, we are able to assist and resolve end-users’ issues, which allows the IT staff to focus on projects and other day-to-day tasks. By providing this type of support on the full range of systems in an organization, we keep user satisfaction high and IT staff’s time is spent more effectively,” Pilcher says.

The Stoltenberg Junior Consultant Program is designed to help develop the information technology talent that community hospitals need to succeed in today’s – and tomorrow’s – digital world.  The program trains recent college graduates aspiring to a career in the healthcare technology industry through onsite hospital internships, specialized vendor training, completion of a proprietary internal development program, and close mentoring. Hospitals can choose to hire the junior consultants after their one-year contract with Stoltenberg.

“We realized that there was a big need for IT professionals in healthcare.  So, we developed this program as a solution and as a great way for us to give back to this industry,” Pilcher says.

To learn more about the Stoltenberg ACHIEVE Program, Help Desk Service Line and Junior Consulting Program, visit company leaders during HIMSS13 at booth #4227. Or, go to www.stoltenberg.com/movie.