Advocare and GuideIT’s Strategic Services Agreement
GuideIT serves as Advocare’s strategic IT services partner to provide clinical service desk, technical service desk, and infrastructure support services, along with continued EHR management and support of organizational transformational initiatives.
Advocare, LLC (“Advocare”) is a physician-owned and physician governed multi-specialty medical group operating in New Jersey and the greater Philadelphia metropolitan region. Founded in 1998 as an alliance of 26 physicians in Southern New Jersey, Advocare has grown to become widely recognized and highly respected as one of the region’s largest, independent, multi-specialty physician groups. With 600 providers, Advocare serves approximately 590,000 patients at nearly 200 locations throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Advocare physicians are regularly recognized among the region’s top doctors in New Jersey and Pennsylvania by both patients and consumer magazines.
As part of a strategic decision to define a new administrative support model for the organization that included the design and operation of a new set of technology solutions and a new delivery model, Advocare embarked upon an enterprise initiative to in-house all services including Finance, Credentialing, Legal, Compliance, Coding, Human Resources, Marketing, Information Technology, and Revenue Cycle Management. To transition successfully their legacy EMR and Practice Management system to one new platform across nearly 200 practice locations that serve 590,000 patients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Advocare needed to build an infrastructure to support the new transitioned services. The Advocare challenge was to:
- Access legacy systems (EMR and PMS)
- Build a new infrastructure to support the in-house and hosted services
- Order new equipment to support the new platform
- Train 600 providers and 2,500 employees
- Transition to the new platform across the enterprise the same day while minimizing business interruption during the implementation
- Convert to “One Chart”
- Ensure historical data and all interfaces (lab and radiology) were available day one
“GuideIT is an exceptional strategic IT partner. They not only understand technology, but also how it is deployed and optimized to enable patient care objectives. GuideIT has supported us through every step of our strategic IT transformation. With technology playing an increasingly important role in patient care, our investment in technology is also an investment in our patients. Advocare is committed to providing the highest quality healthcare to the communities we serve.” – Howard Orel, MD, President and CEO for Advocare
GuideIT provided IT services and experts in the areas of Infrastructure, Data Migration, Interfaces, Practice Optimization, and Revenue Cycle Management to ensure a successful implementation. To transition to the new platform across the enterprise the same day, GuideIT had to design and implement a parallel network to access the legacy system. In addition, GuideIT recommended to implement a strong Governance structure to manage Advocare’s program to implement a best-in-class Electronic Health Record (EHR) and the supporting organizational transformation initiatives. Post implementation, GuideIT provided clinical service desk, technical service desk, and infrastructure support services. During implementation, the governance structure allowed Advocare to:
- Monitor progress through command center to ensure a successful transition
- Coordinate the effort across seven workstreams and identify transition plan
- Implement solution for quick escalation and resolution of reported issues
- Ensure all parties involved were informed of the progress and challenges
Advocare selected GuideIT for not only their understanding of technology, but also their knowledge of how to manage complex implementations by leading an organization through every step of a strategic IT transformation. Advocare selected GuideIT as both organizations share the same culture and vision.
Through their Healthcare solutions group, GuideIT deploys the technologies that enable healthcare organizations to strengthen business management practices; achieve the clinical outcomes and return on investment expected from technology investments; accelerate the benefits of acquisitions; and realize greater visibility, an accelerated pace of business, and better information flow through a stronger technological foundation and enhanced IT operational expertise and processes.
“We share Advocare’s clinical vision and are committed to helping Advocare leverage technology in order to achieve their patient care objectives. Our team is passionate about IT relationships built upon high quality services, an active and engaging style, and value for money. We are grateful for the opportunities provided by Advocare and excited to write the next chapter in this important relationship.” – Chuck Lyles, CEO for GuideIT
GuideIT began with a consultative approach that included the creation of a strong governance structure, identify stakeholders across the organization and build seven (7) distinct workstreams: Contracting, Communication, IT Infrastructure, Implementation, Practice Optimization, Data Migration and Revenue Cycle Management. Two major areas were closely monitored: 1. Data Migration as Advocare wanted to ensure patient safety would not be compromised. 2. New infrastructure as Care Centers needed to have access to the new services day one
1. Assessment and Planning – Stakeholders were identified to be part of each workstream where they then identified a plan to transition to the new platform. A master plan was established, and a governance framework was created to ensure a quick escalation and resolution of issues and communication across the leadership team.
2. Implementation – A plan was developed to implement IT and data infrastructure standards and procedures, which included the deployment of new hardware. From there, data extraction from legacy systems was planned, tested, loaded and signed off by each care center using best practices.
3. Training – Curriculums and a scheduling application were developed to track users and ensure they attended the mandatory web-based modules and instructor-led classes to receive their credentials.
4. Command Center – A command center was created to track and monitor from 7am to 10pm all reported issues to ensure a successful transition of all the care centers.
5. Post Go-Live – IT support team took over the support of each care center and worked closely with the appropriate support.
- Successfully transitioned all care centers to the new platform
- Trained all providers and staff via instructor led classroom and web-based modules
- Implemented a standardized workflow process
- Empowered physicians to access patient records from legacy systems to minimize disruption
- In-housed departments including finance, credentialing, billing, human resources, marketing, compliance and coding