April 23, 1998

The MUSC Board of Trustees met recently and approved a number of purchases, including funding for information systems upgrades, renovation projects and a debt collection service. Our board is very interested in the various renovation and construction projects, and we will continue to keep its members well-informed of our plans.

I also reported to the board our plans to begin the clinical enterprise strategic planning initiative. Our board has indicated its desire to be involved in all stages of the strategic planning process, and I am very grateful for the members’ interest and support.

In order to enable the Medical Center management team and the medical staff an opportunity to participate in this planning process, we have distributed a survey. I will continue to keep you informed of our progress with strategic planning.

Finally, as communicated in a recent Currents, we must continue our focus on cost control—while providing the highest quality of care —as the health care market becomes increasingly competitive. I recently received some suggestions for cost control from individuals throughout MUSC, and our administrative team is in the process of assessing how to best address cost control. I believe the foundation for cost control lies in further developing our understanding and use of operations improvement strategies throughout our organization. We must think in terms of “cost per unit,” data-driven decision making, benchmarking and identification of cost-saving opportunities.

W. Stuart Smith Interim Vice President for Clinical Operations Interim CEO, MUSC Medical Center


  • Pam Cipriano, Ph.D., administrator for Clinical Services, recognized and congratulated Jennifer Hebra, nurse manager for the Heart Center, and Sara Paul, nurse practitioner for the Heart Failure Clinic and clinical assistant professor of nursing, on the publication of their book, “The Nurse’s Guide to Cardiac Rhythm Interpretation—Implications for Patient Care.” Other contributing writers of the publication include: Pamela Allison, nurse manager for PC/CTICU, CCU, ACU; Sylvia Odom, Cardiothoracic Transplant coordinator; Elizabeth Steadman, acute care nurse practitioner for Vascular Surgery; and Vicki Zeigler, a former clinical nurse in Pediatric Cardiology.
  • Lisa Montgomery, administrator for Financial Services, reminded everyone of the May 1 deadline for turning in rosters from employee compliance training. “Compliance Alert” posters are available through her office by calling 792-4775.

MUSC Rutledge Tower Nears Completion

  • Hal Currey, associate dean for operations, College of Medicine, Sandra Wade, director of Facilities Management, and Dave Neff, administrator for Ambulatory Care Services, presented an update on the completion schedule for MUSC Rutledge Tower.
  • Currey indicated that, barring any unforeseen circumstances, Rutledge Tower should be operational by mid- to late summer.
  • As with any construction or renovation project, there have been some setbacks. For example, unanticipated work included: the need for an additional elevator; adjustment of ceilings in the operating rooms; replacement of the entire medical gas system and upgrades for fire safety; and replacement of heating-ventilation-air conditioning and electrical systems to ensure compliance with Department of Health and Environmental Control and Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations standards. Heavy rain also has made work difficult. However, things are beginning to move quickly now and the pace (as well as the tension and stress levels) has increased dramatically.
  • While the move to the tower actually takes place, clinics will be closed for several days. More information concerning staffing levels and patient appointments is forthcoming.
  • Wade explained that a great deal of work has been going on behind the scenes to prepare for operational support. For example, work is under way on communication systems, bus routes, furniture and equipment, building maintenance and training plans.
  • Neff reported that several committees involving a great many people have overseen this project. Neff thanked everyone involved, giving special recognition to Currey for his leadership and management of this project.
  • Grand opening ceremonies have been set and will include:
  • Grand opening ceremony on July 22.
  • Physician drop-in on July 23.
  • Open house for MUSC students and employees on July 24.
  • Open house for patients and the public on July 25.
  • Everyone is encouraged to attend these various functions. Additional information can be found in the TimeLine publication. CCIT Service and EMERALD Update
  • Dave Northrup, director for Healthcare Information Services, reported that after some Center for Computing and Information Technology staffing adjustments, the work station installation and repair backlog is improving.
  • Currently, a Windows/95 trial project is under way that includes approximately 30 work stations. Plans are under way for the Medical Center to switch from the current ClinLAN to Windows/95 beginning in mid-summer and continuing through mid-1999. There are some training concerns which will be addressed through a “train the trainer” process. The current plan calls for Rutledge Tower to use the new Windows/95 configuration (called ClinLAN95).
  • Northrup and Michael Irving, manager of Patient Care Systems, highlighted the operational issues for the eventual transition to the electronic medical record system, called EMERALD. Various stages of training will begin this summer.
  • EMERALD will bring accessibility, completeness of information, legibility of information and improved security.
  • More than 150 people—physicians, nurses, technicians, administrators, researchers, support staff and educators from areas throughout MUSC are working on EMERALD. q Long needed, EMERALD was spurred by the College of Medicine’s strategic plan, which mandates a 90-plus percent complete electronic medical record by Dec. 31, and by efforts of the Medical Records Committee.
  • The time line for implementation spans the next five years: q Phase I: EMERALD will be implemented on campus as defined by the Medical Records Institute (Dec. 31)
  • Phase II: House staff ordering, clinical documentation and expansion to Carolina Family Care (beginning in 1999 and continuing)
  • Phase III: Attending physician ordering (end of 2000) q By Dec. 31, EMERALD will provide electronic access to:
  • Laboratory and pathology results.
  • Radiology results.
  • Inpatient pharmacy information.
  • Discharge summaries.
  • Operative notes.
  • Clinical Notes and referral letters (90 percent availability).
  • Operating room schedules.
  • Orders for laboratory, radiology and dietary (clinical documentation and other orderable services in 1999).
  • Ambulatory appointment schedules.
  • Scanned images from inpatient medical record (for example, handwritten documents).

Employee Appreciation - May 1 through May 14

The President’s Office and Hospital Administration are sponsoring “Employee Appreciation Weeks” from Friday, May 1, through Thursday, May 14.

Each employee will receive a meal ticket valued at up to $4 with paychecks or through manager. Tickets may be used toward the purchase of food available in MUSC cafeterias, including Gil’s Grill, Harborview Office Tower and the Basic Science Building.

The Gift Shop will be offering a 10 percent discount for purchases more than $5 (MUSC ID badge required). In addition there will also be a drawing for a Extend-A-Phone 25-channel cordless telephone and a 24-inch, white, oversized stuffed teddy bear.

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