September 11, 2014

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This past week NCH hit the “trifecta”—scoring three victories in key areas.

  • First, after completing a rigorous examination, we now rank among the top 175 hospitals that constitute 45 unique healthcare systems for utilizing information technology (IT), having been designated an HIMSS Analytics Stage 7 System, the highest level possible. We are Florida’s fourth hospital to be so designated, joining just 3.2% of all 5,400 hospitals in the nation. There are eight stages (0-7) that measure a hospital’s implementation and utilization of information technology applications. The final stage, Stage 7, represents an advanced patient record environment.

Four experienced examiners, after spending a full day validating decades of work and months of preparation, were heartily impressed. We thank Interim Chief Information Officer Phil Dutcher, CNO Michele Thoman and a Cerner team led by Jeff Dindak for managing this accomplishment.

In summarizing, the outside experts noted that we not only have a great IT system, in concert with our Cerner partner, the world’s largest healthcare IT company, but we have maximized this tool to bring better quality, more coordination, and safer care to the patients we serve. Simultaneously we have become more efficient.

The reviewers appropriately challenged us to use our system to improve our community’s health, to connect in new and novel ways to keep folks healthy as we migrate from a “repair shop” mentality to health and prevention. Becoming a “Blue Zone,” where more people live to be 100, is another important goal.

Another challenging goal is predictive analytics, using information technology to intervene in an illness before the condition worsens; or knowing who is at risk in an outpatient setting and then intervening early to make a change for the better. This will also require robust IT.

  • Second, we are now in week two of our conversion to the Cerner system of our NCH Physician Group of 111 physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners.

This is also a huge project, discussed for years, planned during this past year, and now is reality. Technically and culturally, change is always difficult and we greatly appreciate everyone’s collaboration and cooperation. Notwithstanding the expected random glitches, the conversion effort has been pretty remarkable, thanks to team members led by Chief Administrative Officer Zach Bostock, IT Application Leader Beth Cooper, and Application Manager Eileen Connolly-McDermott, and including Analysts John Kershetsky and RN Charity Dawley, Trainers/Support/Go-Live experts Julio Irizarry, Sonia Karth, Naomi Leaman, Helen McMannus, Nicholl Talley, Eddy Torres, and Allison Zablo.

  • Third, we have been recognized by Naples Daily News as having the best hospital cafeteria in the area at North Naples, with our downtown cafeteria taking second place. And here again, all those folks who help deliver good food, served attractively and inexpensively, in a welcoming environment are to be commended by all of us who reap the benefits.

So there we have it, the healthcare trifecta—three important milestones for a team of caregivers which just keeps achieving and gathering momentum as we help everyone live longer, happier, and healthier lives. Thank you all.


Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO

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and The NCH Healthcare System
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