How to recruit your next generation of health IT professionals

April 11, 2017 |  How to, CIO

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Looking out of my office window at Deborah Heart and Lung Center, you see nothing but a green, rural area, nestled in the middle of the Pine Barrens, which is not the typical scene your mind envisions when you think of New Jersey.

Being in such a rural area, it can be a challenge to recruit staff with experience in our MEDITECH EHR because we don't have a large population to draw from. However, we came up with a unique plan to attract quality staff to our facility.  

We formed a partnership with Rowan College at Burlington County here in southern New Jersey, to offer a Clinical Healthcare Informatics Certificate MEDITECH program. This program is a distance-learning model leveraging MEDITECH’s existing course offering that takes place at  MassBay Community College in Framingham, Mass.

The 10-week certificate program, currently in progress, provides students with an introduction to healthcare informatics as well as understanding the clinical workflow of an Electronic Health Record (EHR). The program is geared toward local healthcare professionals who are looking to increase their knowledge of EHR software or people who want to enter the healthcare information technology field as a second or alternate career. Instructors from Deborah train students using MEDITECH’s integrated EHR software, supporting students as they work hands-on performing mock tasks in the system.  

Not only is this a great win for us, but it’s also a win for our surrounding community. We’re helping to build a network of specially-trained students, who are ready to hit the ground running and could potentially be placed in employment with us, our EHR vendor, or with another hospital that may be looking for MEDITECH expertise. It’s also great for the students themselves, who may be looking to change careers and jump into the healthcare or information technology field, and who otherwise wouldn’t have an entry point.

The healthcare landscape is ever-evolving, and having Deborah be at the forefront of cultivating talent that can allow us to survive and thrive with these changes is something very valuable to us.

In line with that changing landscape, Deborah is in the process of implementing MEDITECH’s 6.1.5 EHR that will put us on track for meeting Meaningful Use Stage 3 and open up a sea of possibilities to optimize our operations and continue to provide the highest quality of patient care to our community. We will be an early adopter of MEDITECH’s Business and Clinical Analytics (BCA) solution that will allow us to look at data in a whole new way, identify key trends, turn that data into actionable information, and have the ability to report on items in near-real-time. This will be a big win for us from a process standpoint as well as a finance standpoint, and add extra layers of accountability.

We’re a small independent hospital amongst a sea of large health systems and we’re proud of our outstanding quality and patient satisfaction scores, as well as our unique philosophy of “there can be no price on life,” which means we never bill a patient for services we render to them at our hospital. We’re also proud of the partnerships we’ve built and believe in having strength in numbers. Partnering with an educational institution and implementing an EHR are two avenues that will help us to provide the best care we possibly can for our patients. It’s an exciting time for us as we go through this journey.


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Written by Rich Temple, CIO, Deborah Heart and Lung Center

Rich Temple has over 25 years of healthcare experience at all levels. He is currently the Vice President / Chief Information Officer for the Deborah Heart and Lung Center, an 89-bed nationally-renowned cardiovascular specialty hospital in Browns Mills, NJ. Rich also serves as Deborah's HIPAA Security Officer. Prior to his role at Deborah, Rich was the founder of Richard Temple & Associates, a consultancy specializing in healthcare advisory and strategy. Rich also held previous positions as a National Practice Director for IT Strategy for Beacon Partners (now KPMG) and as VP/CIO for both the Saint Clare’s Health System in Denville, NJ and for AristaCare Health Services, which runs several long-term care facilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Rich has also served as President, Secretary, and Board Member of the statewide Chapter of HIMSS in New Jersey.
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