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Published on December 1, 2016

Cerner client Tuality Healthcare Portland, Oregon, recently received recognition as Best Medium-Sized Hospital IT Department from Healthcare IT News. Tuality CIO Sonney Sapra discussed the recognition and steps taken to ensure end user success.

Gaining recognition

The recognition came because of the effort made by our team and the way our team thinks outside the box. We put in a great deal of work on our side so we don’t have to pay an extra amount to an outside party to get the job done. With Cerner and some of the things we’ve been able to do together, it has helped us with achieving some of our goals. 

We’re not a niche hospital that only focuses on one thing, we focus on all of it. We cover the gamut when it comes to solutions. Our team can be spread very thin at times, but they do a great job of putting their attention on the end user. 

Setting and achieving goals

Our goals are really tied to our organizational goals. We’ve got standards that we hold our team accountable to while responding to our end users. We take customer service very seriously, and we take our user feedback very seriously. Every ticket that we close has a survey option. Any time we receive less than a four out of five on those surveys, we’re looking at ways in which we could do things better. 

Our motto has always been that we’re going to give the best service and we’re going to make sure that we hold our team accountable to that service, while trying to align with the organizational goals. 

Advice for hospitals of Tuality’s size

We’re a smaller organization with over 1,300 employees. We’ve got smaller budgets and when it comes time to getting things done, we’re not shy about saying “we’ll go ahead and get it done.” We have 43 total employees in IT and that covers all of IT, which is nearly 1,400 users. This covers all our clinical information systems, all of hardware, all of telecom, our service desk, our network, our servers, so you’re looking at a small group of individuals that support a large number of employees. 

The workload isn’t going to slow down, so you have to think about how to keep your team motivated. Listen to your employees, live and breathe the work with them. Let them build the vision with you. The more they are involved, the more ownership they take. Employees carry a lot of knowledge and a lot of good ideas. Keep the conversation going with your employees. The more you take interest in their lives and their vision, the more it aligns with your vision as well. Employees will feel like they’re being heard and they feel motivated by that. 

Motivating a team

Our average tenure is probably anywhere from 10 to 15 years, but we have some employees that are very new as well. We also have some employees that have been here 40 years. Our employees are very sharp and often times bring ideas from other organizations. We have a very motivated team. 

At the end of the day, I really give credit to all of our team. It’s not me, it’s our team. They work extremely hard. They are very end user-focused and they do their absolute best to please our providers and give them what they are looking for.

Looking forward

We’re working on securing our mobile devices with a geo-fence around the hospital, which will give our end users the ability to use the apps that we want them to use on-site. When they leave the geographic area around the hospital, those apps automatically fall off the device. It helps us keep our system secure but also gives the ability for our providers to use the apps within our facility without a problem. If they bring their personal device, we don’t have to worry about scrapping their phone should they lose it. Those apps will automatically be deleted when they are off-site. We’re hoping this project should be completed by March to April 2017.

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