How much effort does a digital hospital require?

The best kept secret in Healthcare IT may be St. Clare’s hospital in Weston, WI. St. Clare’s opened in October 2005 without a single file room. It is Wisconsin’s first digital hospital. Some hospitals have received tons of recognition, including the one in Birmingham that probably will never open. St. Clare’s, however, has flown under the radar despite being a state-of-the-art facility with everything from e-learning to full CPOE.

The entire project is the vision of Steve Pelton, the CIO for Ministry Health Care’s central region (Ministry and Affinity are sister organizations). The project enjoyed comprehensive project management support from the Ministry PMO. As a result, there are some good numbers regarding the total overall effort. St. Clare’s is a new hospital, so there weren’t any conversions or worries regarding existing paper records.

In total, the IT effort for this digital hospital has been just over 100,000 hours (including intense post-opening support). I calculate that to be just under 50 man-years. If you are going to take on the effort alone you will want to get an early start.

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