Wade Patrick – Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers
- Written by: Fatima Taha
- Produced by: Andrew Wright & Mike Szajner
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
If you’re in rural northwest Ohio, you might find yourself at Bryan Hospital, part of the Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers healthcare system. Opened in 1936, the 85-bed hospital serves the residents of Bryan and surrounding counties.
Except, as Wade Patrick explains, CHWC doesn’t handle certain medical operations, like brain or heart surgery. In such cases, the patients are transferred to the larger hospitals about an hour away in Toledo or Fort Wayne.
Patrick and CHWC wanted to upgrade and enhance CHWC’s electronic medical records system. EMR systems store everything that is digitally documented about a patient, from imaging and surgery to prescriptions, allergies and medication dosages.
“We wanted an EMR that was interconnected to other healthcare organizations so that if we treated a patient at CHWC and they were being transported to another hospital, the receiving facility would be able to access that patient’s information even before the helicopter landed,” Patrick says.
He adds that this also allows CHWC and other hospitals to access important information when the patient cannot remember, is unconscious or otherwise unable to speak.
“The ability to have patient information automatically and electronically shared with other healthcare facilities significantly enhances the patient care process, which can save lives,” Patrick says.
CHWC is comprised of two hospitals—Bryan and Montpelier hospitals—and the Archbold Medical Center, all located in Ohio. Patrick has been with CHWC since April 2016 as its vice president and chief information officer.
Four years after being hired, Patrick, CHWC executives, physicians and the hospital’s departmental leaders came together as a 50-person committee to upgrade the EMR system. Thus began a lengthy selection process, led by a small—but mighty, Patrick adds—Information Technology department and Patrick.
“We compared different systems and chose Epic because Epic does a better job of easily sharing patient information with other healthcare organizations,” Patrick says.
As Patrick explains, changing over to Epic for EMR meant that the digital platforms for other systems also needed to be replaced. The complete digital overhaul meant upgrading accounts payable, general ledger, material management, payroll, human resources, and time and attendance systems.
Since Epic software is specific to clinical information, UKG and Multiview were installed by Patrick’s IT team of 16, whom he describes as talented and driven individuals, to handle those needs.
All the new systems were live a couple weeks before Christmas 2021. He adds that this shift was accomplished during a severe labor shortage during the worst global pandemic in recent history.
“If we can pull this off in the middle of a staffing crisis and COVID, we can do anything,” Patrick says with pride. “Rural America for the win.”
Controlling COVID-19 chaos
Patrick takes pride in the way CHWC handled the influx of patients due to COVID-19. CHWC hired screeners for the safety of patients and staff and limited entry through designated doors. Initially, the hospital had installed temperature checking kiosks, but Patrick says they quickly realized that screeners and guest service associates were more functional and caused less hassle.
The IT team, the pharmacy and other departments worked together to create more clinical space to accommodate the increase in COVID-19 patients.
“It may sound obvious, but we worked hard to ensure the safety of our medical professionals, our staff and our patients while trying to make everything as comfortable and convenient as possible,” Patrick says.
Since graduating from Purdue and taking his first hospital job in 1993, Patrick has worked in several roles—from director to senior vice president and chief information officer—in medical centers and hospitals across the eastern nation. He says that he particularly enjoys being a part of CHWC because of its rural location and the strong, dedicated “work family.”
In his spare time, Patrick has been known to do some Angel Flights to help patients get to their destinations. He volunteers with other pilots to transport patients when needed. He is also the board president for the local Habitat for Humanity and enjoys swinging a hammer alongside the volunteers while they build new homes for their partner families.
As for his work with CHWC, he’s always thinking about ways to continue improving the experience for CHWC personnel and patients.
“Going live with these new systems is not the finish line, but just a starting point to a new phase,” Patrick says. “Now, the challenge becomes tweaking and enhancing them in order to create the best tools possible to support the exceptional patient care provided at CHWC.”
View this feature in the Winter II 2022 Edition here.
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