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Behavioral Health Integration Project

In addition to replacing the existing psychiatric hospital, the OSH Replacement Project team (OSHRP) was charged with moving the new hospital from a paper to an electronic health record (EHR) keeping system. 

The agency made the decision to have a dedicated team of highly-skilled individuals whose singular assignment was the planning and implementation the EHR. This eight-member BHIP team formed in January 2008. Several had a long history with both technical and business support for the hospital, Addictions and Mental Health Division or the agency. This familiarity helped throughout all stages of the project.

So as not to lose touch with customer needs, the BHIP team office was located at the hospital. In addition, staff from the hospital and the Office of Information Services were embedded with the BHIP team to provide additional resources and expertise; two OSH nurses served as subject matter experts throughout planning and implementation.

On November 1, 2011, the project team, with its technical partners, celebrated a successful go live with the first rollout of the electronic health record now known as Avatar.

This is a monumental change for how the hospital has done business in the past. Up until November 2011 it used limited, scattered technology and paper records. This lack of an integrated system fostered inconsistencies, and put the safety of patients and staff at risk.

BHIP took many steps to ensure that Avatar would be a tool to help further achieve, not hinder, the hospital’s mission and vision for its patients and staff.

From the very beginning, BHIP involved more than 100 stakeholders, including hospital staff, technical partners and the Psychiatric Security Review Board to review all software proposals. The OSH staff, not BHIP, selected Avatar for its electronic health record software.

Training began several weeks before go live on both the Portland and Salem campuses. More than 1,500 OSH staff were trained (313 classes taught representing 3,177 class hours). In December 2011, BHIP turned over future Avatar training to the hospital’s Education and Development Department.

BHIP trained 170 super users to work hands-on and face-to-face with staff at their individual work stations. The response from hospital staff volunteering to be trained as super users exceeded capacity. The response to be a User Acceptance Tester was similar: Forty-five staff signed up on paper but more than 80 showed up to participate.

For 11 days following go-live, BHIP and its partners provided an on-site, around-the-clock support team to handle both the technical and human-related issues. In the 24 hours following go-live, 437 unique users had logged in; three months later more than 1,600 unique users had logged in.

Everyone involved in this project understood the importance of this system and was fully committed to make this the most successful technology implementation undertaken by the State. By all accounts, the implementation of the Oregon State Hospital’s first-ever electronic health record keeping system was successful.