For Rural and Community Hospitals, Effective Healthcare Technology, Strategic Advisement and Industry Support Are Keys to Meeting Meaningful Use Requirements

Issue brief published by Stoltenberg Consulting offers advice on overcoming IT challenges for smaller hospitals

Jan 09, 2013, 09:00 ET from Stoltenberg Consulting

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A new issue brief published today by Stoltenberg Consulting, Inc., a leading healthcare information technology consulting firm, offers guidance, insight and strategies to help rural and community hospitals develop an effective plan of action that unites IT departments, internal administration and clinical providers in successfully meeting Meaningful Use (MU) requirements.

Commenting on the challenges faced by rural and community hospitals, Char Wray, VP Clinical Operations and Information Systems/Chief Clinical and Information Officer for EMH Healthcare in Elyria, OH said, "The challenges extend across the entire organization and impact all staff and patients along the continuum of care. There is a requirement for expertise in multiple areas to support the build and implementation of the solution and the significant change in the workflow of the clinicians. It can be difficult to balance all of the demands while delivering on our primary mission to provide quality care in a cost effective manner."

Other issues examined in the brief include:

  • Upfront investments required for technology and slow-to-receive reimbursements. "In addition to an investment in technology, there's the cost of actually utilizing it," said Wray. "For example, there's the cost of educating end-users and effective change management."
  • Minimal IT staff onsite and an infrastructure that does not support the required expansion in electronic health records (EHR) systems.
  • IT implementation as not just an "IT project" but a "clinical transformation" requiring significant buy-in and effort from the top-down.

Recently, substantial industry initiatives have gained momentum in their support of rural and community hospitals' achievement of MU. Fred Bazolli, Senior Director of Communications for the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), noted that the organization "sees the need to reach out to rural and community hospitals in a really pointed way. These smaller hospitals have to put aside competitive differences and stay in contact with each other to facilitate information transfer."

In order to better prepare to meet MU requirements, Stoltenberg emphasizes the importance of rural and community hospitals prioritizing what they need, including: 

  • Putting in place a strong foundation to deliver on all care requirements.
  • IT teams reaching out to develop stronger relationships with physicians and clinical staff.
  • Establishing the logical sequence for what needs to be deployed and in doing so, developing milestones and setting tangible goals.

Wray noted, "The new MU requirements are instrumental in guiding a change in the way patients engage with their healthcare teams. This is a huge transformation in the way we traditionally interact, and it keeps me up at night. I want to make sure we engage patients in a meaningful way, so that they can be an active partner in their healthcare decision making with their healthcare team."

"Proceeding toward Stage 2 and Stage 3 MU requirements will become more challenging for rural and community hospitals," said Sheri Stoltenberg, Founder and CEO of Stoltenberg Consulting. "Such challenges require the support of the entire industry in order for these facilities to remain viable and continue to provide the type of meaningful and relevant care that is offered by larger facilities."

The issue brief, the second in a series of three, is available for download at  For more information on Stoltenberg, visit the website and watch their 3-minute movie at

About Stoltenberg Consulting
Founded in 1995, Pittsburgh-based Stoltenberg Consulting Inc. creates an environment for success by working with health care organizations to provide a variety of services including project management, implementation support and integration between systems. Members of the Stoltenberg Consulting team are consultants with extensive experience in both financial and clinical systems, averaging more than 15 years of direct on-site hospital experience. Stoltenberg Consulting has grown rapidly to serve a client base of more than 200 preeminent healthcare organizations throughout the United States providing services for Siemens (Approved Partner), Epic (Preferred Partner), Cerner, McKesson, Meditech, NextGen, Allscripts and Zynx customers. For more information call 1-888-724-1326 or visit

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SOURCE Stoltenberg Consulting