Clinician Adoption

"Any physicians who have gone through a rotation at a VA hospital . . . have used VistA," says Paul Hensler, CEO of Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield, Calif. "Our physicians that had used it before were very positive about it and really helped sell it to the physicians who had never seen it before."

Physicians are far more likely to adopt and use a health IT system they are familiar with and find useful than one they have to learn from the ground up.

Since the VistA system was implemented more broadly in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in the mid-90s, about 65 percent of all medical school students have done rotations through the VA and used VistA. Of that 65 percent, a large majority were impressed with VistA, finding that it enhanced the care they provided and made the practice of medicine more straightforward.

Clinicians who know VistA like it for one logical reason: It was designed in a hospital environment with direct input from VA physicians. Independent evaluation confirms its user friendly character. Users find VistA much more adoptable than other systems primarily because it gives them “the ability to perform tasks in a ‘straightforward’ manner,” according to a 2001 report in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association that compared VistA system with a proprietary alternative in use at New York’s Mt. Sinai Hospital.

The experience of OpenVista users mirrors that of clinicians in the VA.

Medsphere customer Midland Memorial Hospital (Midland, Texas) has achieved over 50 percent overall use of Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) and 100 percent among physicians. At Wyoming's Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County, another OpenVista hospital, initial fear and hesitation has dissipated to the point where "even the [clinicians] who were most resistant to EHR became the biggest fans," said Linda Simmons, vice president of operations and chief nursing officer for the hospital. "For example, older physicians, who initially resisted EHR technology, are now some of the most popular users of OpenVista at MHSC."

The Medsphere training program ensures that hospital superusers are ready to facilitate end user adoption when OpenVista moves to a live environment.

Immediate access to support personnel is key to successful technology adoption so we supplement formal classroom training with a robust go-live support program. This is the single most influential aspect of user acceptance in the critical days following Go Live.