Case Study: Successful Implementation of Cerner Millennium Clinical EHR with Soarian Financials

MedSys Group was engaged to manage planning and implementation of the Cerner Millennium Clinical EHR System for a mid-sized hospital system. The system encompassed one 270-bed hospital and 15 associated clinics in the Midwest. For the hospital, the project entailed replacing their current Soarian clinical system with Cerner Millennium, and keeping Soarian for their financials in place. For the clinics, the plan was to replace the existing NextGen installation with Cerner Ambulatory and Soarian Physician Revenue Management.

 MedSys Group was engaged by the client just prior to signing a contract with Cerner in early 2016, and managed the project from that point through several months post go-live in late 2017.

 Early in the engagement, MedSys staff integrated with the client to learn their leadership and culture. Replacing an EHR is a transformative project that touches all areas of a health system, requiring strong leadership support and meticulous execution. Our first priority is always to ensure that our clients are ready from this crucial organizational perspective.

 As we integrated the team, we began the work of implementation. After confirming the detailed project scope, and following a thorough assessment of the client’s own staffing, MedSys assisted with the definition of the project plan and timeline. This was unusually complex because Cerner’s purchase of Soarian was still fairly recent, increasing the challenges of coordination between multiple parties. Through several months of pre-implementation planning, MedSys also worked with client leadership and Cerner staff to create a detailed governance structure.

 Governance is a complicated and extremely important part of any project plan. It includes technical components such as the charter, the resource matrix, and the steering group structure. More critically, it includes contingency planning, risk and issue tracking, and strong links to the organizational governance of our client. Assembling this was a crucial part of the early work of the project team.

 After completing this early work, we kicked off with the full project team. By sequencing it in this way, and particularly by establishing governance and communication structures prior to kick-off, we were able to share critical information about the project and its structure, exercise and test communication pathways, and address project team cohesion.

 As the project progressed, MedSys staff drove the implementation, keeping team members accountable and following the project plan. We established a strong cadence for issue management and risk mitigation, helping ensure key decisions were made using the best information available. Bidirectional communication kept everyone involved and included.

Throughout the project, MedSys also helped keep the focus on organizational transformation and clinical care. We highlighted critical workflows, presented best practices for change, and led testing and validation for these new practices. It’s easy, in the heat of an implementation, to forget transformational goals. MedSys experience and leadership kept those goals fully in sight.

 As the application build and test neared completion, we helped design the training plan to incorporate our client’s decisions on workflow and scope. Following testing, the training plan was designed not only to teach users how to use Cerner, but also to teach them how to follow the improved workflows available in the new Cerner applications.

 Even though the client’s revenue cycle application was retained, clinical transformation always prompts revenue cycle optimization. MedSys recommended many changes to the client’s current state revenue cycle operations as a part of our intensive focus on workflow. This not only helped the client prepare to work smoothly with the new clinical systems, but also helped capture far more charges than before the transformation. We helped establish a revenue reconciliation process that started in every clinical area and followed all chargeable activities as they flowed from the clinical system into the financial system. Once established, this effort was led directly by the client’s Chief Financial Officer, who ran weekly meetings with all department.

 Throughout the project, MedSys advisors also made recommendations to improve crucial areas of the client’s operations. We assisted with refocusing IT operations in the context of the new Cerner systems, and helped the client establish a clinician and physician informatics team. These teams assisted with clinician use of the new system, gave a badly needed physician sounding board, and ensured that clinical IT questions were answered by clinically trained and experienced staff. The clinical informatics team reported to the client’s Chief Medical Officer, and worked heavily with IT and Education to ensure communication flowed freely around all clinical system concerns, issues, and improvements.

 The project was seen by our client as hugely successful, both from the clinical and revenue cycle perspectives. The project team met their initial planned timeline, and achieved a live, stable system with relatively few issues for such a transformative project. In the process there was no significant negative impact to revenue. The new IT organization and clinical informatics team, along with a strong EMR build and expert client staff, will be ready to support improved clinical care and revenue management for years to come.

Romona Rivere

Romona Rivere is responsible for nationwide recruiting support and training and development of recruiting personnel. She has over 20 years of experience in the Healthcare Industry. Romona is a member of the strategy management team which is comprised of the core leadership of the organization.

She has worked as a healthcare recruiter for over fifteen years and has been an integral part of the MedSys Group recruiting team for the past nine years. Her many notable accomplishments include consistent achievement of top recruiter and top employee of year awards. Romona is well known throughout the industry as one of the best recruiters in healthcare information technology and enjoys the highest approval rating from her MedSys Group consultants. Romona resides in Dallas, TX.

Aaron Spratt

Aaron’s experience in healthcare ranges from managing EHR implementations in both the ambulatory and hospital setting, directing the operations of a hospital IT department, managing physician practice operations, overseeing Meaningful Use compliance in multiple organizations and managing Joint Commission compliance for a Midwestern healthcare system. He particularly enjoys working with physicians and other clinicians to optimize the use of EHR systems to help meet strategic goals.

He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Masters in Business Administration from Southeast Missouri State University.  He is a member of the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) and a Certified Medical Practice Executive (CMPE) through the American College of Medical Practice Executives, MGMA’s certification and fellowship body.

Patricia Drew

Patty Drew, Senior Strategist, began her career in healthcare in 1997 as a Registration Clerk at Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) in Maine. At that time, EMMC was opening a centralized scheduling call center and she was transferred to that department as a Scheduling Clerk. She quickly moved to the healthcare IT side as a database analyst working with the Cerner Registration and Scheduling applications. Her career progressed as she became IT Director for Access Management and Physician Services at Eastern Maine Healthcare System (EMHS) responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the Cerner Registration, Scheduling and Ambulatory applications as well as the GE Centricity EMR for physician practices within EMHS as well as various physician practices across the state. Patty joined MedSys in 2012 as a Senior Consultant and since has been promoted to Senior Strategist and serves as a Revenue Cycle Implementation Specialist focusing on Registration and Scheduling.

Patty received her Associates Degree in Medical Office Administration from Husson University.

Jeff Jensen

MedSys Group today announced the designation of Jeff Jensen as Client Relationship Executive. In his role, Mr. Jensen will be responsible for managing new and current client relationships across the healthcare IT spectrum. Mr. Jensen began his career in healthcare in 1994 in physician recruiting, becoming Director of Physician Recruiting for the Central Region. Additionally, he provided leadership in the pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries, representing Johnson & Johnson and other companies in the operating room. After finishing his MBA from the Cox School of Business at SMU he left the operating room and joined the healthcare IT world focusing on the Dallas market. Jeff spent the next 13 years partnering with healthcare systems to help them upgrade their network and physical infrastructure, business software, EHR systems, service line software, operating room equipment configurations, imaging devices, mobile platforms, telehealth platforms, cloud migration and also worked on collaborative projects with marketing and technology to help develop and enhance the digital patient experience. Mr. Jensen’s passion and focus continues to be around healthcare technology, and the impact that it has on improving patient care.

We’re extremely excited about the addition of Jeff to our team. Jeff’s dozen-plus years of experience in this industry as an innovator of how technology is delivered has us confident in his abilities to handle the current, and aid in the growth, we’re encountering today.    His unflappable focus on delivering genuine value to our clients is what has attracted our firm the most with regard to our decision. I’ve no doubt our current and future clients will benefit from Jeff’s business acumen”, noted Alan Kravitz, MedSys Group CEO.

“Healthcare has always been about taking care of the patient. As healthcare evolves and relies more on technology to keep patients healthy, MedSys group is poised to advise hospital systems in their exploration of using patient improvement metrics for revenue generation instead of just fee for service models. Helping hospital systems treat patients as customers with service options they already have in other industries is exciting to me.” Said Mr. Jensen

Grant Campfield

Grant's experience in healthcare ranges from managing implementation teams within hospital and ambulatory settings to working with government PMO offices on strategy and approach. His background with IDN (Integrated Delivery Network) clients and the federal government has provided him with an extensive understanding of the contracting process through to post-live optimization. Campfield is now focusing most of his time on relationships and delivery within the federal and state government space.

Campfield is a graduate of Kansas State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Marketing. He currently resides in the Dallas area with his wife Markie.

Luther Nussbaum

Luther Nussbaum serves at Chairman of the Audit and Compensation Committees. Nussbaum is active in operational improvement and developing the strategic road map for the Firm as a member of the Executive Committee. He previously served as Chairman of the Board from January 2013 until the close of 2014.Additionally, he serves as a mentor to the leadership team. With vast experience in healthcare, high tech and other industries, Nussbaum brings innovative ideas and the application of breakthrough solutions to this inspiring vision.

Nussbaum is the semi-retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of First Consulting Group. During his decade-long tenure at FCG, the company increased eightfold in size, expanded its service offerings from consulting and systems implementation to management services and software products and led the industry in utilizing worldwide resources in India and Vietnam to achieve a very low cost, high quality project-delivery model. In addition to his managerial roles, Nussbaum has served as an active and creative Board member, Advisory Board member or mentor with a dozen companies. He has hired or mentored more than forty executives who are now Chief Executive Officers of a broad array of companies. As an executive, Nussbaum was a VP, President, COO and CEO of a handful of high technology and healthcare services companies. Mr. Nussbaum received his B.A. from Rhodes College where he was elected into Phi Beta Kappa and his M.B.A. from Stanford University where he was named an Arjay Miller Scholar.

Mark Embry

Mark Embry, Co-founder and EVP of Client Development, aids in the development of strategies for expansion of MedSys through joint ventures and other cooperation with Partner Organizations.

With over a decade of healthcare technology experience, he has forged strategic relationships with major healthcare IT vendors and partners across the EMR market. He has been instrumental in solidifying partnerships across the EMR market with companies such as Cerner Corporation, ACS, Healthcare, Epic Systems Corporation, Siemens Healthcare, and DELL Healthcare. His prior industry experience includes serving as a major account executive for TekSystems, one of the leading providers of IT solutions to the US market. Embry credits his success in business to the hiring of quality individuals who surround a committed leadership team. "Our goal is to empower our employees to create success by aligning the company's business goals with their individual goals. We believe that if we can inspire personal growth among our team members, business success will follow." Embry has a BA in Business Marketing from Baylor University. He currently resides in Frisco, Texas.

Nancy Ellefson

As Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Nancy Ellefson is responsible for the day-to-day workings of accounting, finance, human resources and information technology in addition to risk and cash management for the organization. In addition she implements and maintains systems, policies, and procedures that provide the necessary support for internal operations as well as field employees and contractors. Ellefson is also responsible for the overall financial well being of the company through financial planning and analysis of results.

Prior to joining MedSys, her 30 plus years of experience includes serving as CFO of Preferred Restaurant Services and APEX Restaurant Group, Vice President of Finance for Furr’s Restaurant Group and Pizza Inn, Controller for numerous public and privately held companies, as well as a financial analyst with two major healthcare systems, Barnes Hospital and Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas. Ellefson is a certified public accountant with four years of public accounting experience with Laventhol and Horwath in St. Louis, which had an extensive hospital practice.

Alan Kravitz

Alan Kravitz, President, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, manages and oversees overall strategic leadership and operations, with emphasis on client relationships and sales initiatives, as well as executive participation in recruiting of the top talent in the industry. As the strategic leader for the organization, he is responsible for developing the organization strategic initiatives for expansion. With over eighteen years of Healthcare Information Technology experience, his relationships and knowledge served to establish MedSys as a leader in Healthcare IT Consulting.

His career in Healthcare IT began in 1994 when he founded CAP Associates, a nationwide Healthcare Information Technology recruiting firm. After several years of continued growth in EMR recruiting, in 1998 he expanded operations by founding Genesys Group, a technology focused solutions provider in staff augmentation, IT outsourcing and managed services. Using a developed model, he founded MedSys Group Consulting in 2008 to service the ever-growing needs to the healthcare technology market. Kravitz attributes the company success to the devoted work of the dedicated leadership team, as well as the principles under which the organization operates; Respect, Honesty, Trust, Commitment and Communication. “Our accomplishments are not defined or driven by just a few, but by realizing everyone’s combined contributions at all levels of the organization. Keeping it simple, doing business with the golden rule in mind, and focusing on client communication and service will fuel our continued success and growth.” Kravitz earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management and Marketing from The University of Missouri. He currently resides in Frisco, Texas and is married with three children.