Training on a Massive Scale

By Tom Barnett Print this article Print

The objective was to build a state-of-the-art hospital that would fuse cutting-edge health care with the hospitality and service of the world’s finest hotels.


Training on a Massive Scale

As we moved closer to the opening date, training began on a massive scale. Almost 1,200 new and transplanted employees had to be trained—not just in new hospital processes, but also in the combination of  IT systems that pertained to their department or area of work. Frequent checkpoints, team huddles and numerous conference calls ensured that all the work was coordinated.

Nearly 1,200 members of the clinical and physician staff were being trained in every available conference room, lunch roomopen space in or near the hospital.

Among the important activities were day-In-the-life scenarios: all-day simulations of key hospital processes, such as admitting patients, delivering a baby and performing diagnostics. 

Underlying everything was the digital nervous system to make it all work. We needed to ensure the IT systems talked with each other . For example, the nurse call system had to properly alert patients, and dietary orders (with food allergy notes) had to make it to the kitchen accurately and on time.

When the hospital opened on March 15, 2009, it was a fantastic experience for all involved. It was an undertaking that involved hundreds of talented people, including more than 100 engineers and managers.

The IT program executed very well, with only the minor program issues, which were to be expected for something of this size. The fact that a complex, varied collection of technologies came together and worked so well on the delivery date can be traced back to careful planning, team collaboration and open communication.

Three years later, Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital continues to outpace other local hospitals, its Press-Ganey scores are setting national records and p atient volumes have exceeded expectations.

Tom Barnett is the IT director at the Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System. He can be reached at tom.barnett@earthlink.net.


This article was originally published on 2012-05-10
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