August 9, 2018

Clinician Champion program aims to boost comfort with eStar

Recently, more than 40 Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) clinicians and support team members gathered for the official kick-off of the eStar Clinician Champion program.

Recently, more than 40 Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) clinicians and support team members gathered for the official kick-off of the eStar Clinician Champion program.

At the event, they received an overview of the new program and were able to ask questions of the colleagues who had helped design and launch it.

“The overall goal of the Clinician Champion program is to help clinicians feel confident and comfortable in how they use eStar and other related systems. Champions identify and prioritize local issues, help their peers feel supported and knowledgeable, and serve as authentic communicators and teachers in their areas,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Health System Officer for VUMC. “These collaborations will become an important component as we continue to increase efforts around eStar’s familiarity and ease of use.”

Fundamentally, Clinician Champions serve as essential connectors between their areas and the Medical Center’s IT teams. Each Champion will be paired with a partner from VUMC’s application support teams, who will act as a resource for the Champion. The support partner will help organize efforts, guide requests through approval processes and facilitate communication to and from the clinical area.

The Clinician Champion program was initially piloted in a couple of clinical areas at VUMC, including Women’s Health. These pilots helped ensure the program was ready to be extended broadly throughout the Medical Center. Daniel Biller, MD, MMHC, associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, not only helped lead the team that developed the Champion program, he also served as one of the first Clinician Champions. As such, he was able to provide real-world feedback on how to improve the program and strengthen the Champion role.

Biller and his assigned support partner, Blair Anderson, led an internal workgroup within Women’s Health that regularly met and worked together to determine their area’s most pressing needs. They reviewed all open issues and requests that had been submitted to HealthIT for remediation or consideration and immediately got to work on creating a prioritized list.

“One of the most important things we were able to accomplish — quickly — was having visibility across both our inpatient and outpatient environments. This helped facilitate collaboration among nurses, educators and administrators,” Biller explained. “We broke down traditional barriers and were able to partner with HealthIT using one unified voice to communicate what we needed and in what priority.”

Clinician Champions represent a wide variety of departments and specialties at Vanderbilt. They were selected by their leaders to serve in this role given their natural leadership, communication and problem-solving abilities, as well as their reputation among their peers as a trusted resource. They will also be able to engage in future IT projects that shape how technology is used to deliver patient care at Vanderbilt.

Clinical leadership is particularly excited about the potential for the Clinician Champion program and what it means for the Medical Center — especially as it relates to making ongoing improvements within eStar.

“The Champion program will help us optimize our use of eStar,” said Ronald Alvarez, MD, MBA, professor and chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “I’m looking forward to expanded online scheduling for appointments, the ability for patients to complete forms online, better workflows, more efficient documentation, improved follow-up with patients and referring providers and more streamlined billing processes.”

The Clinician Champion program will soon be complemented among nursing and other team members by a staff representative program. This program will function in much the same way and is beginning its pilots. Plans are under way to launch the staff representative program in the coming months, and then more extensively across VUMC later in the year.