The Role of Technology in Transforming Resident Care at Misericordia
by Ann Wilson
Every organization faces technology challenges, whether it’s upgrading their network system, increasing security protocols or implementing programs that collect and organize data for various purposes. Several years ago, the administration team conducted an in-depth technology assessment that highlighted some technology challenges, leading the team to create an IT leadership role. Several months and many interviews later, Scott Thompson was hired as the CIO of Misericordia.
Thompson originally heard of a position from his Edgewater neighbor whose daughter is a resident at Misericordia. A graduate of Purdue with a degree in Electrical Engineering, followed by a Masters of Information Technology from Northwestern University, he has worked in several industries including satellites for Hughes Aircraft, web applications for Cision and industrial machines for Continental.
Thompson started working at Misericordia one month after the campus closed down due to the pandemic. Thus, some unanticipated challenges were immediately presented to him and his team of five. One of the first challenges was to help staff across the campus work with remote meeting tools such as Microsoft Teams. This involved getting staff set up with headsets and microphones, a very big effort. Thompson and his team also provided training for staff to host and participate in virtual meetings. This was immediately followed by two initiatives: implementing Wi-Fi across campus and upgrading the resident care systems, which consists of specialized software designed for patient care.
Currently, one of the big pushes has been getting the new system, called AWARDS, in place and running for all residents. This new resident care system provides a number of opportunities to collect and review data across departments and improves the quality of care. This increases the need for effective training and communication among staff members. Thompson feels they are close to having it fully implemented, but they are still working with staff to fully transition to AWARDS. “As we finish the last 10% of the project, we find lots of exceptions and special situations that require changes and adjustments,” Thompson says. “While AWARDS is a very configurable system, it has been a challenge to find solutions for all of the different processes and needs of the residents and staff.”
Implementing Wi-Fi and improving the network security are critical to the new technology changes, as well. One of Thompson’s notable accomplishments thus far, is the seamless Wi-Fi network implementation across campus. This was critical for communication, especially given the pandemic restrictions; it was also required for rolling out i-pads for staff to use with AWARDS. Thompson says, “While there are always new technology challenges at Misericordia, overall, the IT department has made many significant improvements in the last two years. But there is always more that can be done.”
Another major initiative is upgrading the phone system. “Misericordia has had a large central phone switch for all phones on campus but the phone wiring between buildings has become unreliable. We are in the process of implementing a new network-based phone system that will bypass the wiring issues and also provide many new features for users.” says Thompson.
He notes that the improvements in technology at Misericordia would not be possible without the support of the administration and the many benefactors of Misericordia. “The patience and willingness of staff to change the way they work and embrace new solutions has been wonderful. Their commitment to the residents at Misericordia is what makes these changes possible. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to make a contribution to this amazing place, and is what makes the job so enjoyable.” says Thompson.
We are grateful to Scott and his team for implementing solutions that significantly improve staff’s ability to care for our family members.