Implementing a massive culture and workflow change in an organization is never easy. Doing so at four hospitals nearly simultaneously without interrupting patient care—after all, hospitals never close—is infinitely more challenging. Yet, Adventist Midwest Health was able to successfully put into operation a new computerized provider order entry (CPOE) system thanks to key leaders like Richard Carroll.
Carroll, co-chief medical officer of Adventist Midwest Health, is passionate about improving the quality of care patients receive at the hospital. His work revolves around analyzing the region's data regarding congestive heart failure, surgical site infections and other quality measures, and developing plans to improve those statistics. This work is of vital importance to patient care and ties directly to Adventist Midwest Health's mission of extending the healing ministry of Christ.
"Quality improvement allows us to fulfill our mission by shining a light on how we can better our processes to meet each patient's individual needs," said John Rapp, regional vice president, ministries and mission. "That is what Jesus did 2,000 years ago—His healing interactions were personalized. We continue that today."
The CPOE system is designed to drastically reduce medical errors and speed up patient care by eliminating handwritten orders for all inpatients. Regular use of a CPOE is something the U.S. government specifically identified as necessary to accomplish so-called "meaningful use" of electronic medical record systems in the 2009 federal stimulus law. Adventist Midwest Health is considered a trailblazer in implementation of this new technology and is in the process of rolling out CPOE at more than 40 U.S. hospitals with excellent results.
According to Carroll, CPOE is the foundation that will allow Adventist Midwest Health to become nationally known for providing quality care.
"We're asking a lot of our doctors to learn this new process because it's completely different from the way they've practiced in the past," Carroll said. "But they understand that at its core, CPOE will improve patient care."
Sue Cascino, regional director of quality management at Adventist Midwest Health, said Carroll solicited input from a wide variety of experts to ensure that the orders in CPOE followed best practices.
"He listened attentively to feedback, and applied his own clinical expertise to resolve issues," Cascino said. "Dr. Carroll's passions and talents are always directed toward improving the quality of care for our patients."
Yet Carroll, a cardiologist who is board certified in cardiovascular disease and internal medicine, did not discover his passion for quality until later in life. As an undergraduate student, Carroll studied mental health counseling. It was when he was introduced to the emergency department that he realized he wanted to become a doctor. He was accepted into medical school at age 26 and became involved in hospital quality during graduate school at Johns Hopkins University.
Carroll initiated a quality program at an academic medical center in the Chicago suburbs, and in 1997 was recruited by Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital to create a quality program. The program has since expanded to all of Adventist Midwest Health.
The fourth oldest of 12 children, Carroll has two daughters of his own. Both daughters are following in his footsteps by preparing to enter the field of medicine; his oldest is studying pre-med at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his youngest is studying nursing at the University of Iowa.
God's fingerprints are evident across the various stages of Carroll's life.
"I can see how God uses the work we do every day at Adventist Midwest Health to make a difference in the lives of our patients and their families," Carroll said.
Molly Geraghty, public relations intern, Adventist Midwest Health