In order to implement PeopleSoft ePerformance, M.D. Anderson has provided both organizational resources and support and has made significant investments in training. The center’s management also relied on its relationship with Oracle to address the predictable organizational problems that arose as the module rolled out. This approach was designed to increase the possibility of success for the implementation and adoption among physicians, a population Deloitte’s Keckley characterizes as historically averse to change.
The results are forthcoming and will be measured in any increase in the number of timely completed evaluations—as well as a decrease in how much human resources staff must intervene in the process. “If less help is needed,” Beck says, “we’ll understand that [PeopleSoft] ePerformance is functionally a better tool.”
Deloitte’s Keckley believes that medicine will evolve to emphasize team outcomes, not the individual accomplishments of healthcare professionals. “Outcomes are what we, the customer, will be paying for,” he says. “And a team functions best with ubiquitous access to data.”
Fontaine agrees, and he sees IT playing a significant role in delivering on this promise. Healthcare is becoming far more integrated on every level. Integrated IT systems will contribute to more-transparent outcomes, aligning physicians and hospitals and creating tighter relationships between them. “Knowledge has to become more transportable,” he says. “We need a more unified language of medical care, with structured documentation, capturing patient data in a unified manner using a single vocabulary so you can query across patient groups to identify successful outcomes.”
To make that data accessible to emerging healthcare teams, Fontaine identifies the foundational requirements as a robust ERP system built with Oracle and a fully functioning EHR system built in-house at M.D. Anderson that can be populated easily with rich, searchable data.
“All of us will have to be held to the standard of outcomes, and you can’t demonstrate outcomes until you’ve captured everything from the beginning to the end of the patient experience,” Fontaine says.
M.D. Anderson management is committed to making the process and policy changes to do that, and Fontaine is confident that his organization will have the best tools as a consequence of its strategic partnership with Oracle. “If a problem requires a work process change that’s difficult but doable, we’ll do it,” he says. “But if it can’t be solved on the human side of the equation, then it will have to be solved on the system side. I think Oracle has taken it on faith that we will impose the workflow discipline for business processes on ourselves, and we have faith that Oracle has the will and ingenuity to solve whatever arises on the systems side for our business infrastructure needs.”