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4 Key Takeaways from Cerner CommunityWorks Summit 2019

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the 2019 Cerner CommunityWorks Summit in Kansas City, MO. Avaap was honored to be included as one of a few select vendors to exhibit at the summit. It was a whirlwind week full of education, networking, and happy hours hosted by Cerner. We had great conversations with hospital executives, clinicians, operations leaders, and IT liaisons about the challenges rural, community, and critical access hospitals face. At the same time of the summit, Avaap announced the Columbus Regional Health System go-live with Cerner CommunityWorks after a year-and-a-half long partnership, beginning with system selection through go-live. Seeing their journey and comparing it with stories from other sites in their same domain, whether currently implementing or live for several years, led me to a few key takeaways from the week:

Avaap Consultant at Summit
COMMUNITY in CommunityWorks

One of the biggest surprises was seeing how the product name embodied the spirit of the summit and overall concept. From the hospital- and vendor-led education sessions to the domain-specific happy hours, CommunityWorks’ shared domain governance requires input from all organizations to drive change. Events like the annual summit allow for these otherwise disconnected sites to get to know one another on a personal level and improve working relationships moving forward. It is a model that promotes collaboration across organizations in leveraging EHR best practices and transforming care delivery in underserved areas.

Importance of a clinically driven revenue cycle

The need for a clinically driven revenue cycle, at its core, makes perfect sense, but it is a message that is often hard to convey to end users that are used to working in silos. It is critical to develop a strong physician training and personalization program to focus on documentation practices that will minimize delays, denials, and follow-ups downstream. The more discrete data and templates can be leveraged to included required billing documentation, the easier it will be for physicians and reduce errors on the back-end. Additionally, a focus on efficient and personalized EHR use will promote overall physician satisfaction with the EHR.

Managing the lack of control

A big challenge noted by many people I spoke with in moving to CommunityWorks was the loss of control in making system changes. The benefits of reduced support cost and standardization often outweigh the negatives, however it can be a big change for systems administrators used to having full control of their EHR and making fast changes at the request of end-users. This can be especially frustrating following go-live, which is why it is critical to have clinical and operational engagement early and throughout the implementation to properly design and test the system with their input. We also stress optimization while implementing to reduce getting stuck in a longer cycle post-live. For example, our SMEs can help review issues and guide conversations and requirements with Cerner’s AMS team to reduce turnaround time on issue resolution. For this reason, a strong governance and change management process should be established early in the implementation cycle, that has the right representation and is in place when the client is turned over to AMS post-live.

Lead the domain

The shared domain structure promotes collaboration across sites, however can also make it more challenging to get your configuration changes prioritized and implemented. Developing a strong post-live governance team that can review and prioritize optimizations internally first will help strengthen your position in the domain. By creating a strategic roadmap and plan at your organization, you can begin to socialize it to the domain at large. We have found that many sites do not utilize uCern to its full capability in leading discussions, developing thought leadership, and promoting their optimization requests. It is a powerful tool that can make your organization a leader in the domain and help to get your end user’s requests met. Our consulting team specializes in creating a unique uCern space for collaboration that our clients can build upon.

Overall, it was a great week of networking and learning. If you were at the Summit I would love to hear from you about your perspectives and takeaways on the week. If you would like to learn more about how Avaap can help with your CommunityWorks implementation or post-live optimization, get in touch.