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Superusers key to getting provider buy-in

Here at HIMSS10, national health care IT leaders discuss their best practices from the dais. One of the many worth sharing today came from David Dawdy, CIO for Phelps County Regional Medical Center in Rolla, Mo., who drafted a corps of 28 “superusers” who help his team test and roll out new equipment and systems.

These group leaders inside the hospital not only offer feedback on what works and what doesn’t, but once they’re sold on a piece of technology, they also become technology champions to their peers.

There’s a lot more to say about Dawdy’s team, which will be covered more in-depth in the future on SearchHealthIT.com, but today, we asked him: Who all is in his superuser group, and what tips does he have for other hospital IT leaders struggling to implement a new piece of technology at their own facilities?

Surprisingly, no physicians are in this particular group (they contribute elsewhere), but instead he’s tapped nurses, respiratory therapists and other front-line providers. In fact, at least one person from every group providing ancillary services is represented among the superusers. 

He and fellow speaker at the association’s awards brunch Allana Cummings CIO of Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, Neb., told SearchHealthIT.com that these user groups are key to getting systemwide buy-in to new tech. It’s not just the participation that makes it go, but also integrating their wants and needs into the implementation process.

“They’ve got to feel that what they’re sharing with you actually is baked into the decision making,” Cummings said. “If they feel that their time is well-invested, then they are going to want to participate.”

“You have to empower these people because they have to feel they’re part of the team,” Dawdy said. “They have to be making decisions that complement your progress.”

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