IT Systems Support/Interim Management and Performance Improvement


ECG helped Cooley Dickinson Hospital to upgrade its EHR, build a self-sufficient IT team, and adopt best practices that would result in sustainable, scalable department operations.

the challenge

Cooley Dickinson Hospital, a community hospital and affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital, was faced with both technological and operational challenges. Its ambulatory electronic health record (EHR), eClinicalWorks (eCW), had been overly customized using methods not supported by the vendor, which in turn inhibited the organization from effectively performing routine maintenance and incremental upgrades. In addition, a key ambulatory IT management position was vacant, and the analyst team had become disconnected from practice operations, which made it difficult to support operations they were unfamiliar with. The hospital was ready to proceed with a depart-mental redesign and adoption of best practices.

the process

From a technical perspective, optimizing the EHR system and completing a major upgrade to align with regulatory requirements were engagement priorities. On the management side, Cooley Dickinson Hospital needed to build a self-sufficient team that could execute future IT initiatives.

ECG provided an interim manager and eCW support team lead to help reorganize EHR support operations. In these roles, we performed a major EHR version upgrade and managed vendor relationships. We also evaluated current staff, hired additional permanent staff, and fostered overall performance improvement by establishing best IT practices. A hybrid of the Lean Six Sigma Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control (DMAIC) process was also used to address the various needs of the hospital’s ambulatory IT function.


the outcome

With support from ECG, Cooley Dickinson Hospital realized a number of accomplishments, including:

  • An upgraded EHR system compliant with all 2014 regulatory requirements, including optimized processes for daily systems backup, single sign-on functionality for providers, and a cloned production environment to allow for more accurate testing
  • Noted performance improvement of the EHR support team affirmed by reduced ticket resolution times, increased physician satisfaction, and improved accountability
  • The creation of process improvement documentation for service-level standards, downtime communications, escalation procedures, and troubleshooting techniques
  • Redefined job descriptions and departmental responsibilities
  • Permanent staff with the ability to function autonomously and support future IT endeavors
  • Improved vendor relations with increased communication and collaboration standards for future projects
  • Sustainable, scalable departmental operations

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