Guest Post: How One of the Nation’s Top Hospitals Made the Switch to EMR Easier

In 2010, the Obama administration rolled out an ambitious five-year plan, moving doctors and hospitals to electronic medical records (EMR), with the goal of reducing costs and providing greater safety for patients. When the plan was announced, the federal government promised funding to hospitals and other health systems to help defray the astronomical costs of the conversion. Healthcare providers were warned that failure to comply by 2015 would result in cuts to Medicare, which could lead to financial losses for both doctors and hospitals.

This plan is currently underway, and both medical professionals and IT experts are scrambling to find ways to adhere to the timeline and ensure federal incentives. Prudent healthcare IT leaders realize that proactive planning is necessary to ensure seamless, cost-effective transitions that both improve efficiency and maintain customer satisfaction. To successfully transfer to EMR by the 2015 deadline, hospitals must prepare now.

When Obama’s plan was announced, Paul Moriarty, the Manager of IT Support Services for Rochester General Hospital (RGH) and his IT support team were supporting 7,500 employees. RGH is the flagship of Rochester General Health System, and the fourth largest cardiac center in the state of New York. Recognized as one of the nation’s 100 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals, RGH ranks first in New York for overall medical care.

Getting ahead of the looming mandate, Moriarty decided to evaluate and streamline his existing help desk processes so when the new computerization of health records were finally implemented, the spike in new tickets could be managed seamlessly.

Before the EMR transition process began, Moriarty’s team was utilizing HelpSTAR, a help desk solution that hospital employees used to submit issues with portals, emails and phone calls. With his team handling 5,000 IT service tickets per month prior to the EMR transition, Moriarty knew that his help desk technology would need to be able to handle a huge influx of additional requests when the transition got underway. To ensure high levels of service and satisfaction were maintained throughout the EMR move, Moriarty had to move quickly.

An existing HelpSTAR customer, Moriarty looked to HelpSTAR to identify and leverage additional features he knew his hospital would need, such as intelligent queuing, self-help tools and prompts (including alarms, follow-up reminders and automatic priority escalation). Along with these features, HelpSTAR’s built-in rapid problem resolution and extensive reporting capabilities provided just the combination Moriarty’s team needed. Moriarty designed customized ticket rules that directed requests to available team members, providing a faster and more seamless workflow. This fix brought their number of electronic tickets versus help desk calls to a manageable 3:1 ratio. With Moriarty’s proactive planning, the IT help desk has improved the efficiency and customer satisfaction needed to help facilitate a smooth EMR transition for RGH.

To learn more about Rochester General Hospital (RGH), visit the

To see if HelpSTAR can help you, visit

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.