Transforming a Hospital...
Greater Baltimore Medical Center Teams with MEDITECH
to Become an Example of Clinical Excellence

Greater Baltimore Medical Center (Baltimore, MD) has embarked upon an ambitious plan to use MEDITECH's Advanced Clinical System in an effort to transform its care practices and become a leading example of health care excellence in Maryland. "As the third largest community hospital in the state, we look forward to taking on a more visible role in our region, and MEDITECH's Advanced Clinical System is a central component in our plan," says Mike Hebrank, CIO and vice president at Greater Baltimore. "This new information system isn't a simple change of clothes, it's part of a larger strategy to completely improve and transform our entire hospital environment."

Greater Baltimore will implement its MEDITECH software in phases, starting with implementing the new platform, followed by laying the groundwork for the Advanced Clinical System and CPOE, and finally introducing new features that will drastically change the way clinicians deliver care. Hebrank believes a richer array of functionality will now be available to staff since the hospital will be running one integrated system. "For example, we didn't have a Master Patient Index (MPI) before, and having one will help us stay connected to our outside practices," he explains.

"Once we are up to full on-line functionality, the system will be a real plus for us," states Jody Porter, VP Nursing at Greater Baltimore. "We are looking forward to having safety triggers and automated order sets. We see this new installation as being a big opportunity for improvement."

The hospital has also decided to implement MEDITECH's Laboratory Information System (LIS). "The integration between the LIS with Pharmacy and physician ordering will greatly enhance patient safety," says Robert Palermo, MD, director of Laboratory and chief pathologist at Greater Baltimore. "Other MEDITECH sites we spoke with had arrived at a similar conclusion about their LIS."

Vendor Selection: Key Stakeholders Establish Priorities
During the vendor selection process, the hospital organized key "stakeholders," including staff, directors of the hospital departments, and VPs, and asked them to list business and clinical objectives. The vendors would be evaluated according to the lists, explains Hebrank. "We stressed that this would not be a typical selection process, that we would be focused not only on functionality, but also on each solution's ability to meet certain objectives. For instance, one of our objectives in the IT department was that the new system should cut IT costs without compromising delivery of service."

Eventually, Greater Baltimore's steering committee pared a list of eight vendors down to two. "We immediately eliminated the first four based on our original consensus that we would only select among the vendors who provide a complete HIS," explains Hebrank. "Best-of-breed solutions have a lot of 'gaps' since they are not able to provide a single solution. Interfaces can be misleading because the applications may share data, but they don't share processes. They're costly, difficult to put in place, and create disparity among departments and disciplines. We wanted an integrated approach to save us from the hassle of supporting expensive interfaces required to run best-of-breed solutions."

The evaluation process finally came down to MEDITECH and Greater Baltimore's incumbent vendor, which the site had been using for approximately eight years. The committee deemed that the incumbent vendor was "neither highly integrated nor cost effective, and we knew if we stayed with them, some things would have to change, including a mandatory upgrade to the next platform," according to Hebrank.

In contrast, MEDITECH offered a very different model. "MEDITECH was proposing a fully integrated system with a sound business model behind it. It's a system that offers a good value proposition for hospitals, and MEDITECH is one of the top three vendors in terms of installed customer base, with a long track record of growth and success," explains Hebrank.

A Clear Picture for the Years Ahead
Greater Baltimore's plan is clearly mapped out. Hebrank says that much of the energy behind the first implementation phase will involve preparing for MEDITECH's Patient Care System. "Our nursing staff will be getting used to certain process changes, before they even touch the new software. We will be training the nurses in a paper environment first, by printing some of the templates from the system onto paper," he says. "Then, we'll train staff on the actual system just before going LIVE with the application."

The second implementation phase will include the implementation of more advanced Patient Care System features, as well as physician ordering and Bedside Medication Verification, a solution that pairs bar coding technology with medication administration. "We will also be working quite a bit with physicians, creating order sets, during this phase," says Hebrank. "By year three, we will implement the full CPOE and Nursing documentation."

Greater Baltimore's far-reaching strategy also greatly influenced the hospital's Laboratory department. According to Dr. Palermo, replacing their 15-year old LIS was not a priority in the beginning, but the medical center came to see the value MEDITECH could provide there as well. “We came to understand that MEDITECH could provide an economical solution, and the sharing of information would lead to better clinical decision making," says Dr. Palermo. "When we began thinking of the organization as a whole, the decision to purchase MEDITECH's LIS was unanimous."

Hebrank notes that the key to getting such a large project off the ground is having significant buy-in from all levels of the organization, including the nurses and physicians. "Our entire hospital is extremely excited about implementing our new strategy," he concludes.

Howard Messing, MEDITECH's President and COO, echoes this sentiment, noting that Greater Baltimore will gain strategic advantage by using MEDITECH’s system to support the delivery of high quality patient care. “We are excited to partner with Greater Baltimore and support their mission of becoming a premier site for clinical excellence," he says.



About Greater Baltimore Medical Center
Greater Baltimore Medical Center (Baltimore, MD), 314 beds, is located just 20 minutes from downtown Baltimore. The health care organization includes a medical center, physicians' offices, a hospice center, and a community health center. More than 30,000 surgeries are performed yearly at Greater Baltimore's busy medical center, and they deliver more babies (4,885) per year than any other facility in Central Maryland. Other services include women's health, oncology, and urgent care/ER.