Bringing 25 new Hospital IT employees on board in 6-8 weeks.

December 17, 2018

Flagler Hospital Case Study


The Client: Flagler Hospital

A private, not-for-profit healthcare institution with 335 beds and a national reputation for clinical excellence, Flagler Hospital has offered superb patient care since its founding in 1889. Flagler was recently named one of Health Grades “Top 50 hospitals” in the nation and was Northeast Florida’s first hospital to receive the ANCC Magnet hospital award.

With a mission of “providing the best patient experience with the best staff,” the Flagler team is committed to maintaining the highest possible standard of care and utilizing the latest technology to maintain its competitive edge. The Flagler Hospital implementation is one of the largest Allscripts “Big- Bang” implementations in an inpatient facility in their history.


The Challenge: Bring 25 New Professionals on board in 6-8 Weeks

In keeping with its commitment to technology and best practices – and in compliance with upcoming legislative mandates – Flagler Hospital chose Allscripts as its new Electronic Medical Record (EMR) platform in mid-2011. The move carried many benefits, including reducing costs over time and improving efficiency and quality of care – not to mention the prospect of a $7.2 million reimbursement from the federal government.

However, hospital administrators knew that implementing the new system would require an unprecedented hiring effort. Initially, they would have to find eight consultants and 17 full-time employees in weeks rather than months, with additional placements to follow.

Flagler made the unprecedented decision to execute an exclusive agreement with Jacksonville- based iMethods Healthcare IT to secure the necessary talent. Flagler’s confidence with iMethods stemmed from the pair’s long-standing and successful professional relationship.

Once the agreement was signed, iMethods had approximately two months to find, qualify, interview, negotiate with, and hire 25 IT professionals in one of the toughest hiring environments in years.


The Process: Tireless Commitment and Creative Thinking

We sprinted out of the starting gate. Leveraging every tool at their disposal, including their strong existing relationship with Flagler, iMethods team members crafted a radically streamlined hiring process.

“It was exhilarating and frightening at the same time,” says Melissa Brannon, iMethods Health IT’s Vice President for Client Accounts. “We were confident that we could get the job done, but it was an incredibly ambitious project and we had to think creatively and step up our game to make it work!”

Overcoming initial reluctance from hospital administrators, our recruiters also set up a Google Docs site to provide all participants with continuous access to information. We made ourselves available around the clock until the goal was met.

Perhaps most importantly, they fine-tuned a fast- track, two-tiered interview process with stringent deadlines: candidates would be interviewed first on the phone, then, if appropriate, in person or on Skype. The pinnacle of this unorthodox-interview process was the fact that Flagler decision-makers would have to provide a verdict within four hours of both phone and final interviews. Offer letters would go out to successful candidates the day they were interviewed, a radical concept in the healthcare IT hiring environment, where the process traditionally progresses around the speed of glaciers moving.

While the new process was being conceived and implemented, our recruiters aggressively began seeking the right people with the right skill sets to fill the available positions.

We enticed prospects from far-flung locations such as Texas, Illinois and Maryland, touting such benefits as the appealing climate and lifestyle inherent to Northeast Florida, the opportunity to create a new system from the ground up, and Flagler’s strong values and incredibly supportive work environment.

Even with the time crunch, we took a highly personalized approach. Our commitment to doing the right thing for all participants in the hiring process was evident every step of the way, and the company’s good reputation added to the attraction for like-minded professionals. Working against us, however, was high demand in the HIT field versus Flagler’s lower level of compensation, relative to healthcare systems in larger metropolitan areas. Also at issue were relocation difficulties stemming from the collapse of the housing market.

With creativity and determination, our team members established exactly the right dynamic for the search. Having worked closely with the hospital in the past, our recruiters spoke knowledgeably about Flagler’s care for its employees, as well as their patients. As local residents, they personally attested to the natural beauty and easygoing lifestyle to be found on Florida’s First Coast. And in consideration of the bottom line, they were able to secure some financial relocation assistance from the hospital while partnering with regional powerhouse Watson Realty to help candidates find the right housing solutions.

Flagler Hospital approached the process with similar energy. Senior leaders made themselves readily available and enthusiastically participated in defining not only their needs, but their core values as well. The recruiting team then looked for individuals who met those needs and resonated with the respected healthcare institution’s values.


The Results: Success!

Due to an all-out effort by our entire team working seamlessly with the client, the Flagler Hospital EMR implementation staffing project was an unprecedented success. All 25 initial positions were filled by the end of October 2011, and seven additional professionals came on board in December and January.

Melissa Brannon credits excellent working relationships with Flagler Hospital as the foundation of the team’s success.“We knew their culture well and they knew we would do what was best for them,” she says. “That relationship and level of trust made all the difference.”

Also important was the innovative and highly-structured process that we created to meet the project’s deadlines. “I think it’s safe to say that the process will be replicated on behalf of future clients,” Brannon says with a smile.

Bryan Hassel, Senior Healthcare IT Recruiter, offers yet another metric of the project’s success. “During this process, we ended up placing two candidates at Flagler that we had a relationship with for over four years!” he says.

“We had never worked with them before – they were just people we had met and built a relationship with until the timing was right. It made me feel great that we were able to place them in such an outstanding organization.”


By the Numbers: 88% Successful Hire Ratio

Since the staffing project for the Flagler SCM 6.0 implementation kicked off in August of 2011, we brought in 48 new members to the IS staff (24 FTE’s and 24 Consultants). These numbers include both the Clinical Application teams, as well as the Infrastructure teams.

Of the 48 employees identified by our recruiters, 42 have been classified as successful placements, for an 88% successful hire ratio. With the industry average for successful hires hovering around 65- 70%, the staffing project to date can be classified as a tremendous success.


Looking Towards the Future:

With the Core and Ancillary build well under way, the focus for the implementation has begun to shift towards training. iMethods has brought in a Clinical Training Coordinator, as well as a Training Consultant to lead the efforts in crafting a design for successfully training the hospital. Flagler has also asked iMethods to bring in 12 trainers who will go through intensive Allscripts training, in an effort for those 12 to then become the subject matter experts of the system. They will be responsible for classroom training the hospital in an effort to enhance the adoption process.

With the Flagler Senior Leadership and iMethods having co-studied “Beyond Implementation”, written by Heather Haugen and Jeffrey Woodside, both are well aware of the critical nature of the training process to a successful project, and are looking forward to taking one step closer in making this Flagler project a success!


The Feedback: “iMethods Delivers!”

In the wake of what might be called an “Extreme Hiring Process,” Flagler Hospital CIO Bill Rieger has nothing but good things to say about iMethods.

“The iMethods team really worked to get to know this organization so they could meet our needs and the needs of the people they placed,” says Rieger.

On the iMethods side, Melissa Brannon has equally positive memories of the experience. “We love working with Flagler,” she says, “and I’m really pleased and proud that we were able to help them get this project off on the right foot. Partnering with such a wonderful organization doesn’t feel like work to me – it feels like a blessing!”

How has iMethods stayed involved and added value throughout the implementation one year into the project?
“iMethods has done a great job of helping our team effectively manage the consultants we have on site. They have truly partnered with us in regards to communicating expectations and performance to our consultants, and have consistently delivered. It has also been refreshing to see how they have invested in their people. They build a high degree of rapport in the relationships that they are able to form, and that translates into a more productive implementation,” says Rieger.

Would you choose iMethods again.? Why?
“Yes, we would feel very strongly about choosing iMethods again. One of the leading reasons for our confidence in selecting them again would be because of their processes, specifically onboarding. Their commitment to onboarding the right people in highly efficient time took effort from both our team and theirs, but in the end has been a large contributor towards paving the way for the future of this implementation,” says Rieger.