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Medical Staff have multiple ways to contribute

Cedars-Sinai physicians have numerous opportunities to shape the design and implementation of the hospital's new integrated information system.

The clinical side of the electronic system dubbed CS-Link is set to launch in late 2009 and there are still many ways physicians are involved in the program's development.

"It's key that physicians are involved in the configuration of CS-Link because the program's goal is to improve physicians' efficiency and as well as the patient's experience at Cedars-Sinai," said Paul Silka, M.D., chief medical information officer and medical director of clinical informatics. "Who can provide better input for such a system than those providing patient care?"

More than a dozen Cedars-Sinai physicians have taken part in regular Detailed Design Sessions, which are being conducted through February 2009. The sessions are a series of meetings with doctors and nurses where the clinicians can advise the Epic software experts on how to best set up the necessary workflow, content and tools to support hospital staff.

Departments also recently began forming Clinical Content Taskforces to collaborate with the CS-Link Clinical Content Team led by Dr. Silka and Associate Medical Director for Information Services Jerome Wang, M.D. These taskforces will design order sets and documentation templates for their respective departments and divisions.

At the department level, there will be designated Clinical Content Champions, whom physicians can contact for additional information. Click here for a list of champions selected thus far.

In addition to the groups named above, there are other committees with Medical Staff representation that provide guidance and insight into CS-Link's development. Among them:

  • Clinical Design Council - The core members of this group include physicians, nurses, pharmacists and those with ancillary expertise to provide insights into department-specific needs, workflow and system design, and clinical content such as order sets. More than 30 people meet weekly as part of the council, which is chaired by Linda Burnes Bolton, Dr.PH, R.N., FAAN, and Midori Kondo, Pharm.D.
  • CS-Link Medical Staff Oversight Committee - Chief of Staff William W. Brien, M.D., and Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs Michael Langberg, M.D., lead this group that formed to ensure the Medical Staff makes decisions on content and implementation of CS-Link that effect the Medical Staff. This is a Medical Staff committee that reports to the Medical Executive Committee.
  • Physician Advisory Committee - Chaired by John G. Harold, M.D., and Vice Chief of Staff Norman Schulman, M.D., this is a forum for the medical community to provide input and feedback regarding the adoption of the clinical system. The group's primary task is to ensure physicians are aware of the project's progress and involved in providing a physician perspective for key decisions.

For those who want to formally become involved, contact Dr. Harold, Dr. Schulman or Dr. Silka for an invitation to the Physician Advisory Committee.

CS-Link is the brand name chosen for this patient-centric software system developed specifically for Cedars-Sinai by Epic Systems of Wisconsin. The system will merge many existing clinical, financial and business applications into an electronic patient record. CS-Link includes two separate, but linked projects - one for billing and scheduling and one for clinical care. Implementation of the billing system, CS-Link Revenue Cycle, will roll out in spring 2009.

Physicians will mostly be affected by CS-Link Clinical Systems, which is still set to go live in late 2009.

Among CS-Link's benefits will be the elimination of paper handoffs, improved access to patient information across the health system, evidence-based clinical decision support, the optimal exchange of information between inpatient and various outpatient settings, and improved education tools that will allow patients to participate more fully in their care.

For more information on CS-Link, visit the Intranet site http://web.csmc.edu/cs-link.