Category: News & Events
November 5 2015
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Think of Fort HealthCare’s information technology (IT) department as the mouse that roared.

Healthcare IT News, a leading informatics journal, has named Fort HealthCare in Jefferson County, Wisconsin, as one of the best hospital IT departments in the nation.

The magazine ranked Fort HealthCare, which has 15 clinics and 72 licensed beds, No.4 in the ‘small hospital’ category. The annual survey was published earlier this week.

“This recognition highlights something everyone who works with our IT department already knows, which is we have one of the hardest working IT departments around,” said Dr. Chris Manakas, Fort HealthCare’s chief medical information officer. “I am proud to work with them every day.”

‘Very deeply integrated’

An article about Fort HealthCare’s successful IT team mentioned its relationship with Cerner ITWorks as a factor for the organization’s success. All 18 members of the department are Cerner associates.

“If we’re going to make any changes or start new projects for developing new services lines or project improvements, it’s a ground-up build with ITWorks,” Dr. Manakas said. “It is very deeply integrated into every single workflow.”

A HIMSS Analytics Stage 7 organization since 2013, Fort HealthCare’s leaders have long pursued the goal of making Jefferson County, the healthiest community in the state by focusing on wellness and better management of chronic diseases.

‘We couldn’t do that without a robust IT infrastructure,” Dr. Manakas said. “The ITWorks collaboration makes it so that everything is where we need it when we need to help execute our vision.”

Healthcare IT News received 169 nominations for the award. Then, the magazine emailed a secure, online employee satisfaction survey to Fort HealthCare’s IT team.

“Fort HealthCare is honored to be recognized as a Best Hospital IT Department in 2015,” said LaBebe Nickell, Fort HealthCare senior director of IT. “We work hard to support the needs of our organization and we are thrilled to be on this distinguished list.”

Strong collaboration, better opportunities

To qualify for the award, more than 50 percent of a hospital’s IT team had to complete the survey. Lori Leary, a Fort HealthCare IT application architect, said she appreciates the strong collaboration among her fellow team members and other Cerner associates.

If Leary is struggling with an issue, she says she can always turn to Nickell or other leaders for help. “That’s huge, having that sort of relationship,” said Leary, who was born at Fort HealthCare and has worked there for 11 years, including five as a Cerner associate. Training is “definitely” better with Cerner, noted Leary.

“We’ve had opportunities,” said Leary. “You can always put your career on a certain track.”

Working together

Marcos Garcia, vice president of Cerner ITWorks, said the award illustrates Cerner’s investment in its IT associates, offering them extensive training and chances to grow their careers.

“We’re honored our clients trust us to manage their systems and their associates,” said Garcia. “Ultimately, we work in collaboration to deliver value from their IT investment.”