Hospital CEO resigns after botched EHR rollout

Staff voted 270-0 to express 'no confidence' in the administration

Athens Regional Medical Center (ARMC) President and CEO James Thaw has resigned following the poor implementation of a new electronic health record (EHR) system, Modern Healthcare reports.

Background on the EHR rollout

On May 4, ARMC went live with Cerner's EHR system in "most areas" of the Georgia-based health system.

On May 15, more than a dozen physicians affiliated with ARMC sent a letter to Thaw and Senior Vice President and CIO Gretchen Tegethoff stating that the timeline to install the EHR system was too "aggressive" and that there was a general "lack of readiness" among its intended users.

Some of the concerns raised by the physicians include:

  • ED patients leaving after lengthy wait times;
  • An admitted patient who had not been seen by a physician for five days;
  • Lost or overlooked orders; and
  • Medication errors.

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Details of Thaw's resignation

On Friday, the Athens Regional Health System's board of trustees announced Thaw's resignation as the hospital's CEO and president. The move came after hospital staff voted 270-0 that they had "no confidence" in the hospital's administration.

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In a separate letter to donors and volunteers on Friday, Athens Regional Foundation Vice President Tammy Gilland said the three weeks following the system's implementation were "very challenging" for "physicians, nurses, and staff" at the hospital.

However, neither the hospital's release about Thaw's resignation nor the foundation's letter specifically state that Thaw's resignation is the result of the EHR system's rocky implementation, the Athens Banner-Herald reports.

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Next steps

In her letter, Gilland noted, "Parts of the [EHR] system are working well, while others are not," adding, "The medical staff leadership has been active in relaying their concerns to the administration, and the administration has taken these concerns very seriously."

She added that the hospital has "dedicated staff ... to make sure the system is functioning as smoothly as possible through this transition."

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Senior Vice President and CMO James Moore is assuming administrative duties at Athens Regional, the Banner-Herald reports (Tahir, Modern Healthcare, 5/27 [subscription required]; Fetter, Athens Banner-Herald, 5/24; McCommons/Aued, Athens Flagpole, 5/23).

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