Welcome back to Optimum Healthcare IT’s “Center Stage” series, where we turn the spotlight on Optimum’s executive leaders. In this installment, we talk with Leah Kromar, VP Consulting Services.
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.
Leah Kromar has 28 years of healthcare experience dating back to her days as an ICU nurse at Harris Health, Ben Taub Hospital in Houston, TX. She spent eight years as an RN in Houston and San Antonio, TX before transitioning to the IT, implementation and consulting side of healthcare with Cerner in 1998. Since 2002, Mrs. Kromar has served in some of the most renowned hospitals in the biggest markets across the U.S. – Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles; Stanford Hospitals and Clinics in Palo Alto, CA; West Virginia University Medical Center in Morgantown, WV; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston; Genesis Healthcare in Zanesville, OH; Lahey Health in Burlington, MA; and UC Irvine in Orange, CA. And almost all of them had one thing in common – Epic. A graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, Mrs. Kromar has dedicated her professional life to the wellbeing of others, and for the past 19 years, she’s been doing that through implementing electronic health records (EHR).
What challenges present the greatest opportunities in Healthcare IT?
Leah Kromar: One of the biggest challenges in Provider IT organizations is how to balance the continuous need to optimize their IT systems while balancing the costs to do so.
Background at Optimum
In March of 2016, Leah Kromar joined Optimum Healthcare IT as its Vice President of Consulting Services. She has extensive expertise in assisting healthcare provider organizations successfully implement, optimize, and maintain electronic health record systems.
Optimum’s Consulting Services
At Optimum Healthcare IT, we have the right solution for your implementation whether you are a large multi-facility network, an Academic Medical Center, a single hospital, or a physician network. With so many options available for your organization, what differentiates Optimum from the competition is our focus on your success. When you partner with Optimum, you know the Best in KLAS team implementing your system has been carefully selected to provide the best fit for your organization. Every team member is a fully-trained, experienced professional who will work with you to understand the uniqueness of your organization to ensure success in your EHR implementation.
What’s the biggest impact electronic health records have had on Healthcare IT?
Leah Kromar: Being a nurse that moved from the bedside into IT, I have always seen the use of information technology as a major factor in furthering safe, high-quality patient care. When I started my nursing career, we often struggled to decipher a physician’s handwritten orders. In my mind, the one overwhelmingly huge contributor to safer care has been the implementation of the EHR. Today the EHR is the core system used day in and day out to treat patients. In Provider IT organizations, the need to continually optimize the EHR is always present and should be a top priority. Making decisions on what and when to optimize requires a strong but nimble governance process that takes into account the primary goal of furthering patient quality and safety, while also looking at factors such as resources, budget, and end-user impacts. I am very proud of the tools and methodologies we have developed at Optimum to assist organizations with their optimization decisions. Our Managed Services offerings can also greatly reduce the cost of optimization. Whether it be creating and implementing a strong governance structure, providing a detailed assessment and prioritization of optimization needs, or completing a cost/benefit analysis, the key to Optimum’s success is our people. We seek out and retain the best consultants in the industry and provide a strong culture focused on delivering the highest quality of services to our customers.
What advice would you give to healthcare organizations that are preparing for an EHR implementation?
Leah Kromar: Pre-work. There are some things that organizations can do before they even pick a vendor, that will greatly improve the success and reduce the cost of the EHR implementation. Examples such as cleaning up the chargemaster, consolidating and updating order sets, medication formularies, appointment types, surgical preference cards and so on. Most organizations wait until the EHR implementation has started to tackle these time and resource intensive tasks which results in delays and extended timelines.
What’s next for EHRs? Where do they go from here?
Leah Kromar: EHRs are certainly not going away. They will continue to be the core system from which clinical and business functions are transacted. No system is more important to a provider healthcare organization. There will continue to be a growing need to focus on analytics. We also see a growing need to “clean up” some of the junk that was introduced during an aggressive “slam it in” implementation. At Optimum Healthcare IT, we have top-notch methodologies, tools and most importantly people to assist.
Whether you are optimizing, upgrading, or moving to a completely different EHR system, you are making a large financial investment for the care of your patients. You have organizational changes to contend with, staff to train, and meaningful use, compliance and regulatory standards to reach. If the implementation of your EHR isn’t correct, the future care of your patients and the financial stability of your organization could be in jeopardy. Optimum Healthcare IT has the people, the expertise, and the experience to ensure that your EHR is implemented correctly and smoothly.
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