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Consultant Corner | Wendy Pirkle – New Horizons

Wendy Pirkle currently works as an Allscripts superuser, focused on documenting current state and designing future state workflows in the EMR. She has been at iMethods since May of 2018 but wasn’t always a technology expert. Her initial career path was patient-focused, working as a nurse in the burn unit at Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham.

At Children’s of Alabama, she spent more than 10 years in the burn unit growing in her knowledge each year as she transitioned from staff nurse to charge nurse. As the health system began to tackle a wave of EMR integrations, Wendy and her team found themselves struggling to adjust. Wendy’s Chief Nursing Officer approached her about joining a task force of nurses on a one-year CPOE project to learn more about how they could better manage the volume of data being generated by their new Allscripts EMR. Wendy was a bit hesitant at first, but she took the leap of faith to learn more about clinical informatics so she could make a real contribution to the new Nursing Informatics department. Little did she know at the time, that decision would chart a new course for her career, allowing her to impact patient care in new and exciting ways.

Seven years later, Wendy was still an active member of the Nursing Informatics department, only now she had become a subject matter expert in the design of workflows and data within Allscripts. Her team had years of experience walking the same halls as clinicians, fellow nurses and other providers and the support they provided stemmed from the shared dedication to achieve the best possible patient outcomes. With the department now much larger, end-users felt much more confident with the platform and reassured that they had a team like Wendy’s to help them manage their patient data effectively.

As the health system became proficient in the EMR and began to build more customized workflows, Wendy found herself working closely alongside consultants with a wide range of skillsets. These consultants, like Wendy, also excelled in the use of Allscripts and she saw tremendous value in leveraging their unbiased opinions when working with them to analyze problems from different perspectives. The consultants, in turn, appreciated the value in Wendy’s expertise, as well.

She met with the firm as it turns out, iMethods – to find out more about what a life in consulting might look like. She was not yet convinced that consulting was for her. She had made tremendous strides at Children’s of Alabama and thoroughly enjoyed her team. Her initial conversation with iMethods revolved around her desire to make an impact like she had for so many years in Birmingham. She wanted to ensure that if she were to explore this new direction, she would not simply be a number in a future placement and wanted to find opportunities that aligned with her professional goals and were cultural fits for her style. She and her recruiter at iMethods remained in touch over the following year. After continued communication, thought and discussion with her husband, family and recruiter at iMethods, she took yet another leap of faith to join the iMethods family.

Her first consulting role came in western North Carolina at Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) as the Allscripts Sunrise Clinical Informatics Specialist. Despite being nervous about her first-time consulting engagement, Wendy’s expertise and personality allowed her to seamlessly integrate with the team at ARHS. She engaged clinicians and staff in design sessions, helping to analyze the health system’s then-current workflows and determine how they could be expanded to better fit the needs of their end-users. When the nine-month engagement began to draw to its conclusion, Wendy began to get nervous. This was a first for her and she began to wonder where she would go from here. She shared these feelings with the iMethods team, and her fears were soon alleviated. Her recruiter spoke about other opportunities that fit the exact parameters she was looking for. Shortly thereafter, Wendy joined the team at the University of Kentucky HealthCare (UK).

This six-month assignment again paired Wendy with a health system that matched her professional strengths and personal ambitions. The alignment with her work, the culture at UK and her support team at iMethods continued to provide the continuity she sought in her professional life.

As with the initial engagement at ARHS, the UK project would come to its planned end. She knew she would have to find another opportunity soon enough. Interestingly, before her contract was up at UK, she was contacted by ARHS about an opportunity for another upgrade to their system. While she was reluctant to leave the UK project early, she had a conversation with UK leadership and her iMethods recruiter, and they all agreed that this long-term project in Boone was the best fit for her. She couldn’t have been more grateful for the level of transparent communication and understanding from everyone involved in that process.

In 2020, Wendy rejoined the team at ARHS. While this was a welcome return to a familiar organization, nothing was familiar about having to implement system upgrades virtually due to the pandemic. A new hybrid workforce was required to accomplish project goals on time and within budget. iMethods was helpful in facilitating the necessary level of communication to guide Wendy through this challenging time. Regular video meetings were setup to discuss project challenges and check on the well-being of the team. Fun and engaging activities were even incorporated into the sessions to give everyone a reprieve from the stress of the situation.

As Wendy continues to navigate her professional journey, consulting for different health systems across the country, she looks forward to taking advantage of the virtual world we now live in. As she did in her professional career, Wendy likes to take bold action in her personal life. She and her husband recently sold their home, opting to live and work out of a new motor home. With a passion for travel, they plan to embark on a cross-country road trip with their two Norwich Terriers, to see America’s many treasures up close.

The team at iMethods is thrilled to play a role in Wendy’s journey and looks forward to continuing to work with her on many future opportunities.