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EHR Implementation Planning: May Tribal Consultation and Urban Confer Recap and the Getting Ready to Get Ready Guide

by Jeanette Kompkoff, Director of Division of Health Information Technology Modernization and Operations, Office of Information Technology, Indian Health Service

The Division of Health Information Technology Modernization and Operations (DHITMO) leadership continued to prioritize collaboration and partner engagement during a tribal consultation and urban confer held on May 9. The TC/UC focused on deployment and cohort planning for the new enterprise electronic health record solution highlighting Health IT Modernization Program updates, the new Getting Ready to Get Ready Guide, introduction of the Change Advocates Program, and an open dialogue. To open in a good way, Gwendena Lee-Gatewood, representing the White Mountain Apache Tribe, delivered uplifting words in her native language to start the meeting.

Chief Information Officer Mitchell Thornbrugh provided an overview of the Health IT Modernization Program, which included noteworthy milestones, such as over 100 subject matter experts that were nominated to become invaluable contributors to the Enterprise Collaboration Group.

DHITMO Senior Deployment Manager Adrian Haven provided the deployment and cohort planning updates, including details about pilot and cohort sites, next steps for partners, and introducing the Getting Ready to Get Ready Guide and the Change Advocate Program.

Haven discussed that as sites gear up for the implementation phase, identifying key individuals within their organizations to serve as change advocates becomes vital. Change advocates should be considered based on their enthusiasm, influence, cultural connectedness, dedication to relationship building, and commitment to the project. Change advocates will play a crucial role in driving successful adoption.

The open dialogue segment is an important piece of TC/UC events. This time allows IHS leadership to answer questions, address concerns, and note feedback from tribal and urban partners. Popular topics of the May session’s pen dialogue included:

  • Cohort Versus Pilot Site Implementation and Deployment
    • Cohorts will be sequenced based on their organizational, operational, and technical readiness. Implementation activities are focused on preparation, planning, and configuration.
    • Pilot sites will be the first group of facilities for simultaneous solution implementation. Pilot sites have yet to be determined and will provide valuable lessons learned opportunities.
  • Four Direction Warehouse: Data Migration and Mapping
    • RPMS-users need to prioritize backing up their systems in preparation for implementation and deployment.
  • Enterprise Collaboration Group
    • The EHR is being built through the ECG to integrate urban, tribal, and federal needs into the solution.
    • Meetings of the ECG will begin during the summer 2024 and continue through fall 2024.
  • Role-based System Access
    • Roles within facilities will have different software capabilities and access based on role description and need within the EHR.

How Sites can Prepare

The introduction of the Getting Ready to Get Ready Guide highlighted the DHITMO leadership team’s commitment to help sites as they prepare to engage in the Modernization Program. The guide provides IHS, tribal, and urban sites with recommended tasks that can be completed as the initial step of the implementation process. Sites will be selected for inclusion in an implementation cohort — a group that go through implementation and go-live simultaneously — in part based on their completion of the following recommended actions included in the guide:

Public Service Recognition Week

Completing tasks in the guide prior to a site’s selection for a cohort is optional, but it will help sites be in an optimal state of being prepared for implementation of the new enterprise EHR solution. The guide covers tasks in various categories, including technical, staffing, security, and business processes. By emphasizing the importance of preparation and alignment, the Getting Ready to Get Ready Guide contributes to the overall success of the Health IT Modernization Program. 

The DHITMO team’s commitment to the IHS shared goals and efforts have been instrumental in driving the Modernization Program. We are excited to see the impact the guide will have across sites and encourage all partners to work on the recommended actions outlined in the guide. Let us continue to work together to build a strong future that ensures the best possible care for patients throughout Indian Country for generations to come.

Stay Connected with the Health IT Modernization Program

Register for 2024 Tribal Consultation and Urban Confer Events

With two more Health IT Modernization Program tribal consultation and urban confer events planned in 2024, we are committed to connecting and collaborating with partners through informative sessions and open forums. Register now using the links below:


Statement of Interest

We invite our partners to complete a non-binding Statement of Interest to help IHS understand which tribal and urban sites are interested in becoming part of the enterprise EHR solution partnership. The SOI may be submitted by email to at any time. Federal sites are not required to complete the SOI form.

Connect with us!

  • Visit the website for more information about the IHS Health IT Modernization Program
  • Visit the events page on the IHS website for details on upcoming engagements
  • Find the 2024 tribal consultation and urban confer event schedule detailed in the December 2023 Dear Tribal Leader Letter (DTLL)
  • Sign up to receive IHS Bi-Weekly Updates for Tribes and Tribal and Urban Indian Organizations
  • Sign up to receive Health IT Modernization Program email updates through the listserv
  • Read IHS Blog posts on modernization
  • Follow IHS on Facebook, LinkedIn, and X (formerly known as Twitter) to stay up to date on events, collaboration opportunities, and general program updates

Jeanette Kompkoff, Director of Division of Health Information Technology Modernization and Operations, Office of Information Technology, Indian Health Service
Jeanette Kompkoff serves as the director of the Division of Health Information Technology Modernization and Operations within the IHS Office of Information Technology. This division was established to oversee the Health IT Modernization Program and provide strategic guidance to align the goals of the program with the IHS mission. As director, Kompkoff provides oversight and management of software development and maintenance, while also managing deployment, staff training, and maintenance of numerous health IT applications and major electronic health record system updates.