Inside CHIME: CHIME Awards Highlight Collaborations, Partnerships and Exemplary Contributions

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By Candace Stuart, Director of Communications & Public Relations, CHIME

The awards announced on Nov. 2 at CHIME17 focused on CHIME Foundation firms and their representatives. The awards highlighted a collaboration between a CHIME member and a Foundation firm, a Foundation firm that exemplified partnership and industry leadership.  

The 2017 CHIME Collaboration Award, given to Deborah Gash and HCTec

Deborah Gash, CHCIO, VP & Chief Information Officer, Saint Luke's Health System

Deborah Gash, CHCIO, VP & Chief Information Officer, Saint Luke’s Health System

About three years ago, the IT department at Saint Luke’s Health System (SLHS) in Kansas City, Mo., was stretched at the seams. SLHS was implementing a new EMR and a revenue cycle management system that added to the workload and required frequent switching between tasks. Staff were required to manage projects that didn’t always suit their capabilities and interests, and turnover began to increase.

Deborah Gash, CIO at SLHS, weighed her options. She could make new hires, but it would take six months and cost approximately $170,000 per employee to make them productive. She could outsource, but that also was costly. Instead, she turned to HCTec, a company based in Brentwood, Tenn., that provides healthcare workforce solutions.

Working together, they developed and implemented a bi-modal strategy that splits tasks into two categories: general operation and growth and business transformation. SLHS and HCTec then created two workforce teams, with HCTec’s remote managed services team offering support in general operations. That freed up the SLHS IT staff for strategic planning initiatives.

Their strategy has cut staff turnover from 15 percent to 3 percent, increased morale and overall productivity, and to date has saved SLHS $9.2 million. SLHS also saw a boost in its customer satisfaction scores after the implementation. HCTec now is using the model to serve healthcare networks across the country.

The 2017 CHIME Foundation Partner Award, given to Connection

Jennifer Ramstrom, CFCHE, VP of Vertical Strategy & Business Development

Jennifer Ramstrom, CFCHE, VP of Vertical Strategy & Business Development

Healthcare organizations and the CIOs who are responsible for selecting, implementing and managing their IT systems need reliable, compatible technologies to ensure safe, quality healthcare. They also need experienced and informed partners in industry who support them in their mission.

Connection, a company based in Merrimack, N.H., that specializes in connecting healthcare customers with suitable technology solutions, has developed a number of processes, services and tools to meet their needs. Beyond that, Connection’s employees have served as dedicated volunteers with CHIME and other organizations. Their contributions earned Connection the 2017 CHIME Foundation Partner Award.

Jennifer Ramstrom, Connection’s vice president of vertical strategy and business development, accepted the award at CHIME17 on behalf of Connection. She served as committee chair for the CHIME Foundation Certified Healthcare Executive (CFCHE) program, which launched in June 2017. The first exam was given in September, and 24 Foundation firm employees – including Ramstrom – passed.

The 2017 CHIME Foundation Industry Leader Award, given to Dana Sellers

Dana Sellers, co-founder and retired CEO of Encore Health Resources

Dana Sellers, co-founder and retired CEO of Encore Health Resources

Dana Sellers, co-founder and retired CEO of Encore Health Resources, has spent her 30-year career championing the use of healthcare IT to improve patient care and outcomes. A skilled leader, she has been praised by the CIOs she served and the staff she oversaw for her people-focused, solutions-driven approach.

She is recognized as a pioneer in EHR strategy and rollouts and identifying IT solutions that support value-based care. Her past positions include being a partner in IBM’s Global Business Solutions, where she oversaw the U.S. healthcare provider team; president and COO of Healthlink; and CEO of Encore Health Resources in Houston, which she co-founded with Ivo Nelson in 2009. At Encore, she emphasized the importance of people, both clients and employees, which earned Encore numerous “Best Places to Work” awards.

She now serves as a member of the board at emids, which acquired Encore earlier this year. She also has served on the boards of CHIME, the CHIME Foundation and the CHIME Education Foundation.

This is the highest honor CHIME gives to a CHIME Foundation firm member, and as this year’s recipient, Sellers was invited to the podium at CHIME17 to speak during the morning welcome. In her speech, she credited her family for her success and thanked them for their support through the years.

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