Free EMR Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on EMR, Meaningful Use, ARRA and Healthcare IT sent straight to your email? Join thousands of healthcare pros who subscribe to EMR and HIPAA for FREE!!

Healthcare Super Bowl – Winning with EHR Adoption – Breakaway Thinking

Posted on January 15, 2014 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Jennifer Bergeron, Learning and Development Manager at The Breakaway Group (A Xerox Company). Check out all of the blog posts in the Breakaway Thinking series.

The most important – and most vulnerable – connection between strategy and execution is the actual performance of people.

~ Charles Fred, Breakaway

It’s the end of football season and the Super Bowl, the game that determines the best team in the country, wait – in the world – will be played February 2 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The more I learn about the game, the more impressive the depth of leadership, preparation, strength, training, and split-second adaption the sport involves.

Clinicians need to be just as prepared for their own Super Bowl where they score touchdowns by improving patient care, meeting government regulations, and increasing efficiency related to their use of the best technologies. Electronic health record usage is a large part of the government’s Meaningful Use initiative. As of July 2013, 82% of hospitals successfully achieved Stage 1 Meaningful Use and continue to work to adopt EHR technology. How can providers and hospitals support their teams toward EHR success?

Engaged Leadership

First, let’s take a cue from Vince Lombardi, legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers who said that “individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

A group is brought together by the leaders whether it’s the coach, a foreman, or an executive team. In the healthcare setting, the right tone for any change is set at the top of the organization. When adopting a major change like an EHR, leadership has the responsibility of making a game plan, getting the best people involved, and finding the right EHR education solution to help them succeed.


Which brings us to training and education. Rod Marinelli, currently of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers says, “I love coaching young players and it starts with the staff that understands how to teach.” When taking on the challenge of introducing a new EHR, a hospital needs a good plan with the right trainers. A good program doesn’t try to teach every intricacy of a play in detail in order to prepare for every scenario on the field.

The same concept applies to a hospital adopting a new EHR. Dr. Heather Haugen, Managing Director at The Breakaway Group, A Xerox Company, has done significant research on EHR adoption. In Beyond Implementation: A Prescription for Lasting EMR Adoption,Dr. Haugen states that “we know from nearly nine decades of research about adult learning that humans do not learn without a natural progression from discovery through experience. The average human brain is a very poor storage device for information and data, unless that information is recalled and reinforced immediately by experiential activities.” Rather than memorization of facts and workflows, a more efficient way to learn an EHR is through simulations of those workflows. Teach the process and decision-making and the learner creates their own pathways to making the right moves.


How do we know that the leadership coaching and the simulation training are working? By measuring the results. In football, the final score is what matters. As 20-season wide receiver Jerry Rice says, each person must take the necessary steps to reach the goal. In his words, “today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.” Making big changes to process is difficult in execution and in motivation. But by employing the right leadership team as the “coach” along with the proper training and education, when EHR adoption is measured, the right results are possible.

Keeping Pace with Change – Sustainment

After implementing a new EHR application, it would be a mistake to assume that everything would stay the same day-to-day. Adopting an EHR rather than simply implementing an EHR indicates that an organization uses and depends on the system to make them better and more efficient. (Implementation implies only usage of the system, which leaves room for inefficiency and work-arounds.)

Once adoption is reached, it’s a continual process to stay at that level. With staff turnover, changes to software applications, and process updates, coaching, training, and keeping score fall into a plan of sustainment or the ability to keep pace with change. In the football world, Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach calls it dedication: “confidence doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s a result of something…hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication.” It takes continual effort to continually strive for improvement.

The Final Score

To reach the goals of excellent patient care, timeliness, efficiency, and to meet government regulations, each of these four elements must a priority, which is the definition of The Breakaway Method: Engaged Leadership, Education, Metrics, and Keeping Pace with Change. All of the pieces must be in play in order to make the most of any organization. Just as in football, the coaching staff, training program, measurements of results, and changes that meet each week’s challenges are critical.

Football does teach us that the road to success is long, to maintain success is hard, but winning is the name of the game.

Xerox is a sponsor of the Breakaway Thinking series of blog posts.

Healthcare Innovation in a Brave New World – Breakaway Thinking

Posted on December 18, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The following is a guest blog post by Carrie Yasemin Paykoc, Senior Instructional Designer at The Breakaway Group (A Xerox Company). Check out all of the blog posts in the Breakaway Thinking series.
Carrie Yasemin Paykoc
Healthcare providers are faced with a two-pronged challenge of satisfying government regulations and being profitable within a competitive and dynamic marketplace. Organizations that prosper take advantage of what’s going on in Washington and offer innovative products and services to their patient population. At the forefront of healthcare innovation is utilizing data from Electronic Health Records (EHRs) to provide better and more affordable care while preventing medical errors.

The November edition of United Airlines’ Hemisphere magazine highlighted several leading American hospitals that demonstrate innovative approaches to healthcare. The article addresses legislative pressures that hospitals face and the need for transparency as patients seek the best treatments and services across larger geographical boundaries. Many of the top performing hospitals utilize consultants outside of healthcare to obtain fresh perspectives and remain competitive. At Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Dr. John Perentesis, co-director of the Cancer and Blood Disease Institute, shares collaboration with “…consultants in the airline and nuclear power industries reduce errors in human factors. In many ways, the hospital is similar to a United Airlines cockpit.”  Other hospitals pursue innovation by implementing the most advanced procedures and techniques to provide advanced patient-centric healthcare.

The comparison of healthcare with the airline industry or any other service industry is not too far-fetched. In fact, the founder of The Breakaway Group, Charles Fred, brought his experience in the aerospace industry to help healthcare organizations and providers transition from paper records to electronic systems. The Breakaway Group utilizes targeted role-based simulations to help clinicians rapidly learn new healthcare software systems. Simulation learning was a commonly used method when the aviation industry transitioned from analog to digital systems. This is only one example of the many innovations that occur when incorporating an outside perspective. Whoever thought we would use 3-D printers for facial transplant reconstruction?[1] Pretty amazing.

Furthermore, as healthcare organizations start to look inward and analyze their EHR data, it may be helpful to continue to look outward to other industries. In his article, The Data Drive Society, author and M.I.T. professor Alex Pentland[2] discusses the digital breadcrumbs left behind by individuals going about their daily lives, the free flow of information and ideas outside of our immediate social networks, and the power and responsibility behind analyzing this data.  Essentially, every time we make a transaction, update our Facebook status, or send a text message, we leave a digital breadcrumb. Over time, these breadcrumbs create a dynamic social map. This map could be used to design improved systems for the government and even for healthcare to operate in a more efficient and effective manner. However, with access to data lies responsibility. Pentland argues that although we could access every single digital breadcrumb available about a population, we might need to ask for permission. Individuals should have the right to control their own data and opt out of sharing their information.

So as healthcare begins to remove barriers to accessing and analyzing data from EHRs, we may need to circle back to our legislative body to ensure individual data rights are protected. Although open access to patient data appears to be the ultimate solution, in actuality, it is only the beginning and requires deeper thought. We must balance the desire to analyze and innovate with respect for individual data rights; otherwise classical novels such as George Orwell’s 1984 or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World may foreshadow the future inevitability of our society.

But all is not so dire. Go forth and collaborate with outside experts and historians to develop and design solutions for healthcare in the 21st century and beyond.  Be bold. Be innovative. Just don’t forget the ethical stuff.

[2] The author, Alex “Sandy” directs the M.I.T. Human Dynamics Laboratory and co-leads the World Economic Forum’s big data and personal data initiatives.

Xerox is a sponsor of the Breakaway Thinking series of blog posts.