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Tom Kurtz’ CIO Perspective on The Future of Telehealth & Importance of Team Agility

Tom Kurtz, Vice President of Information Services & CIO of Memorial Healthcare, sat down for a recent interview with Healthcare Innovation Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland to share his perspective on leading a team of health IT professionals in an independent community healthcare system. Memorial is a 162-bed-hospital in Owosso, Michigan and offers family practice as well as specialty care that is often not accessible in the rural setting such as neurology and oncology.

In the past year and a half, Kurtz has overseen the replacement of Memorial’s legacy health information system, MEDITECH Magic, and their ambulatory system, Allscripts. Thanks to guidance from the team at CereCore, Memorial converged separate instances and systems for inpatient, clinical and home health into one platform, MEDITECH Expanse. The beauty of the conversion is that Expanse serves not only as an EHR system but also ERP, handling finance, supply chain, billing, and other areas.

This shift has been an invaluable resource especially amidst the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The integrated platform combined with the addition of a COVID floor and alternative care sites means that Kurtz and his team are committed to the extension of patient care beyond the four walls of the hospital at Memorial.

Kurtz credits some of his biggest takeaways from the past year to the consistency of change. He and his team have gained valuable insight from the NIMS (National Incident Management System) preparedness model and used it to get the right people around the table, including operations and clinician staff. With constant fluctuations in state and federal regulations, his team has learned to navigate the new normal with agility and resourcefulness.

When asked what his predictions are for the next two years in healthcare, Kurtz focused on increased growth of telemedicine and the integration of virtual care into clinical practice visits and urgent care facilities. “Before COVID, we had no telemedicine; now it’s in urgent care, primary care, and even some specialty care,” Kurtz said.

Kurtz encourages CIOs at independent organizations like Memorial to take the approach of collaboration, not competition. He advises executives to work with their peers and praised the relationships he’s made with other CIOs at the Michigan Hospital Association. “Find a peer group, see what other organizations are doing, and work collaboratively, not competitively, to make sure you’re taking care of your patients,” Kurtz said.

To learn more about how CereCore helped Memorial Healthcare fuel growth and quality with MEDITECH Expanse, check out their case study.

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