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Epic Community Connect, Global/ February 2018
February 20, 2018

Center Stage: Jon Straffon, Community Connect

optimum-healthcare-it-jon-straffonOptimum’s Center Stage Series

Welcome to Optimum Healthcare IT’s “Center Stage” series, where we turn the spotlight on Optimum’s executive leaders. In this installment, we talk with Jon Straffon, Executive Director, Community Connect.

Our service line leaders have track records of service excellence in Healthcare IT and are passionate about their work. Our goal is to improve healthcare through technology, and these leaders are how we’re getting there.

We brought these leaders to our “Center Stage” to get their take on the future of their service lines and Healthcare IT as an industry.


Jonathan Straffon has 30 years of healthcare experience. Mr. Straffon held a number of positions at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation from 1986 to 1997, including the startup of the first Satellite of the Cleveland Clinic in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In Cleveland, his experience included serving as the Department Administrator for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation/Center for the Spine and Rheumatology & Immunologic Diseases. Mr. Straffon received his undergraduate education at Kent State University and completed his Master’s Degree in Organization Development at the American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts. He is also a member of the College of Health Information Executives (CHIME).

Question: What challenges present the greatest opportunities in Healthcare IT?
Straffon: Tracking the outcomes of the continuity of care will be the greatest challenge to health systems while moving from volume-based reimbursement to value of care reimbursement. Because there are so many disparate data sources, it is increasingly difficult to manage. This is also an excellent opportunity to manage and deliver quality data in a meaningful and impactful method. If you can figure out how to manage this flow of data and get it to the decision makers for patient care in a timely manner, they can make better care decisions. By turning that data into meaningful management information, it becomes part of your competitive advantage.

Background at Optimum
In August of 2016, Jon Straffon and Kelli Mangino joined Optimum Healthcare IT as Executive Directors of the Community Connect Program. They partner to oversee Community Connect Advisory and Consulting services, including but not limited to strategy, governance, contracting and pricing, sales and marketing, technical and application build and design, team structure, training and help desk.

Epic Community Connect
Community Connect enables Epic’s customers to extend a shared Electronic Health Record (EHR) to the community. This collaboration allows smaller organizations to access to a more integrated and robust EHR. As the needs for patient engagement, care coordination, and interoperability grow, extending the capabilities of the Epic EHR to community hospitals, clinics, and physician practices benefits both the community and the patient.

Question: How has Community Connect impacted the Healthcare landscape?
Straffon: Aligning community physicians and hospitals have allowed organizations the ability to have a single record for the care of their patients. This is important for many reasons including eliminating expensive, duplicative tests, adverse drug, and allergy impacts and improving the continuity of care for patients. By sharing clinical data, providers can see a comprehensive picture of their patient’s care.  This will also allow the providers to observe and manage outcomes as they move from volume to value of the care they provide.

Question: What advice would you give to healthcare organizations that are contemplating Community Connect?
Straffon: It is never too late to get started. Health systems and providers are going to be held to delivery-of-care standards. Aligning a community of providers and health facilities will be essential for tracking the care and outcomes of their patients. They will continue to see new requirements for additional data elements along with the continuum of care. Aligning those providers on the same EHR will make it much easier to do this.

Question: What’s next for Community Connect?
Straffon: As Population health and Accountable Care Organizations continue to develop, there will be continued pressure to track new standards of care across the continuum. Community Connect is a valuable tool to help provide a standard tool to help with the collection of data, that is easy to manage and get those reports on time so providers can make appropriate care decisions.

Optimum Healthcare IT has a dedicated Community Connect Advisory Services practice that leverages our knowledge, understanding, and experience with Connect methodologies and tools to strategically align the goals and processes of our clients and extend them into the community. Our Connect experts share lessons learned and best practices and will help you promote your Connect offering to the community, as well as fully implement once all design decisions are made.

Make sure to subscribe to our blog to get the latest in healthcare IT thought leadership, delivered right to your inbox.  Check back for our next Center Stage feature in the coming weeks.

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