CEO of Georgia Hospital Resigns After Rocky EHR Implementation

May 29, 2014 in News

On Friday, James Thaw, president and CEO of Athens Regional Medical Center in Georgia, resigned following the poor implementation of a new electronic health record system, Modern Healthcare reports.

Background

On May 4, ARMC went live with Cerner’s EHR system in “most areas” of the health system (Tahir, Modern Healthcare, 5/27).

On May 15, more than 12 physicians affiliated with the health system sent a letter to Thaw and Senior Vice President and CIO Gretchen Tegethoff stating that the timeline to install the EHR system was too “aggressive” and that there was a general “lack of readiness” among its intended users.

Some of the concerns raised by the physicians include:

  • Emergency department patients leaving after lengthy wait times;
  • An admitted patient who had not been seen by a physician for five days;
  • Lost or overlooked orders; and
  • Medication errors (Fetter, Athens Banner-Herald, 5/24).

Details of Resignation

On Friday, the Athens Regional Health System’s board of trustees announced Thaw’s resignation as the hospital’s CEO and president. The move came after hospital staff voted 270-0 that they had “no confidence” in the hospital’s administration (McCommons/Aued, Athens Flagpole, 5/23).

In a separate letter to donors and volunteers on Friday, Athens Regional Foundation Vice President Tammy Gilland said the three weeks following the system’s implementation were “very challenging” for “physicians, nurses and staff” at the hospital.

However, neither the hospital’s release about Thaw’s resignation nor the foundation’s letter specifically state that Thaw’s resignation is the result of the EHR system’s rocky implementation, the Athens Banner-Herald reports.

Next Steps

In her letter, Gilland noted, “Parts of the [EHR] system are working well, while others are not,” adding, “The medical staff leadership has been active in relaying their concerns to the administration, and the administration has taken these concerns very seriously.”

She added that the hospital has “dedicated staff … to make sure the system is functioning as smoothly as possible through this transition.”

Senior Vice President and CMO James Moore is assuming administrative duties at Athens Regional, the Banner-Herald reports (Athens Banner-Herald, 5/24).

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