Mike Hourigan was a floor nurse at a community hospital in Kansas City prior to joining Cerner in 1999. It happened to be the year of Y2K, so he ended up as an analyst. He worked his way through Cerner’s consulting organization, managing several consulting teams, and then moved into the regulatory area four years ago. Currently, he has a team of about 45 people working on regulatory issues, in particular Meaningful Use and ICD-10.
I had the opportunity to speak with Hourigan to learn how he and his team are working with Cerner clients to prepare for the lead up to, and for doing business after, the approaching October 1st mandate of ICD-10.
(Editor’s note: To hear audio excerpts of this interview, click on the media player buttons that run throughout this article.)
Free: How would you characterize the typical Cerner client?
Free: How has your background as a nurse impacted your work with compliance issues?
Free: As a vendor, what would you say is currently the biggest impact upon workflow coming from the regulatory field?
Hourigan: It’s hard to say. It depends on how a vendor actually translates a given regulation in terms of its use at a client’s site. It can run the gamut.
Free: Let’s talk more about regulations not being “completely baked.” Most of the time, these instances are based upon regulatory approaches that don’t fully appreciate day-to-day clinical workflows. If you were to speak to a group of government officials creating compliance regulations, what would you impart to them that you think that they miss at times? Whether it be a mindset, whether it be a practice, how could they go about creating compliance measures that aren’t so half-baked?
Free: You recently hosted a Twitter chat on ICD-10. Can you tell me about Cerner’s day-to-day efforts helping its clients to prepare for ICD-10?
Hourigan: My team and I have been working on ICD-10 for nearly four years.
We’re taking the approach that we actually recommend to our clients, which is: do an assessment of all of the different areas within your organization to see if there’s any impact from ICD-10. At least, then you’re getting awareness and putting a plan together to ensure that you have contingency plans in place if certain things were to fall badly as they might, because until you engage the process, it really is kind of an unknown to everyone in your organization.
Some of the things that we’ve been doing with our clients is every year we have regulatory summits. We do those at the beginning of the year, usually. For the last three or four years we’ve done these, and it is a full day of education and then a full day of individual planning with our clients. We do these summits at no cost to our clients.
We also have what we call “Review Board Calls.” If you weren’t able to attend the summit, but you still needed to have that information, we would go through one of these calls and spend an hour and a half or so with you to make sure that you have your plan in place and know what you have to execute moving forward from an ICD-10 perspective.
For the clients that participate, they get a report card, giving them a gauge of their current level of preparation. When we deliver that evaluation, we ask for their input and how they felt the testing event went so that we can make sure we are communicating clearly and effectively the information that they believe is important to their preparations for ICD-10.