DeeAnn Michelle Aug 2017As noted in an earlier issue, the Quality Forum partnered with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DPS&C) in late 2016 to select a certified electronic health record (EHR) system for their headquarters, seven state correctional facilities and more than 30 eligible providers. The two groups are currently working to implement and integrate the EHR system, which is designed to support the DPS&C’s ability to monitor and improve the health and safety of approximately 17,000 incarcerated offenders in their custody. DeeAnn Broussard (Client Executive) and Michelle Story (Project Manager) are among the Quality Forum team members supporting the DPS&C initiative. They recently spoke with me about the project’s scope and challenges.

Q. What role does the Quality Forum team play?
A. Michelle Story: Currently, we have a six-person EHR development team working with the DPS&C representatives and the EHR vendor to identify correctional health functionality that is necessary to pilot the system; identify and resolve operational workflow issues; test the system; and assist with the primary data migration. As we move ahead, the team may include training and production support staff.

Q. How do you support the DPS&C initiative?
A. Michelle Story: My role involves coordination with the EHR vendor to determine the next steps in implementation and to facilitate the collection of inputs and outputs that need to be mapped into the programming and development of the EHR. In addition, I collect workflows from the individual correctional centers. As a project manager, I’m also responsible for identifying and assessing potential risks as well as project planning, control and execution.
A. DeeAnn Broussard: I work closely with all the groups involved – the DPS&C, the Quality Forum and the EHR vendor – to ensure open communication between the team members. Keeping everyone up-to-date and on the same page is critical for a project like this. Likewise, I also manage and coordinate the different meetings, workgroups and site visits so we can remain laser-focused on our objectives and the timeline.

Q. What do you see as the project’s biggest challenge?
A. Michelle Story: I think change itself always presents challenges, and the adoption of new technology in health care is a major change.
A. DeeAnn Broussard: I agree with Michelle regarding the challenge of change. This initiative, when successfully implemented, will make a huge difference in the daily work processes of the DPS&C. By remaining positive and encouraging, we feel the team can, and will, accomplish and overcome any challenges that come our way.

Q. What is it that keeps you engaged and motivated regarding this project?
A. Michelle Story: For me, it’s working with the medical staff. I think their commitment to excellence in providing care to offenders within Louisiana’s correctional facilities is impressive and commendable.
A. DeeAnn Broussard: This project has been, and will continue to be, an incredible learning experience for me. Having the opportunity to understand and appreciate the daily challenges the DPS&C faces from a health care provider perspective is extraordinary. And all the while, the staff remains committed to making this project successful. We have an incredible team, and everyone brings so much knowledge and experience to the table.

Editor’s Note: To learn more about this initiative, please see Cindy Munn’s Quality column in the September/October 2017 issue of Healthcare Journal of Baton Rouge and Healthcare Journal of New Orleans when the publications are posted online in early September. The column features an in-depth interview with Raman Singh, MD, Medical/Mental Health Director for the DPS&C.