All posts by Faris Islam

Prista Corporation’s ActionCue® Clinical Intelligence is a new Endorsed Partner by Texas’s TORCH Management Services, Inc. (TMSI)


TMSI EndorsedPrista Corporation, maker of ActionCue® Clinical Intelligence, a software platform for healthcare quality-safety and performance improvement is now an Endorsed Partner of TMSI, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals (TORCH).

Prista Corporation, an industry leader in clinical intelligence software for healthcare quality-safety and performance improvement, is proud to announce their latest endorsement – that of TORCH Management Services, Inc.

“Over the past 12 years, Prista has successfully deployed ActionCue CI to many hospitals in 33 states – including 25 in Texas alone. Gaining this important endorsement from TMSI further validates the key role ActionCue CI plays in facilitating continuous performance improvement in patient care and safety by providing actionable insights in real-time to healthcare leaders and their staffs. We look forward to working with TMSI/TORCH members to bring ActionCue CI to bear on solving their challenges,” said Don Jarrell, President of Prista Corporation.

“TMSI is pleased to welcome Prista Corporation as an Endorsed Partner,” said Vicki Pascasio, FACHE, President of TMSI.  Ms. Pascasio continued, “This endorsement recognizes that Prista’s ActionCue CI platform can assist our TORCH member hospitals in achieving their goals while adhering to excellent standards.  Like all our Endorsed Partners, Prista has gone through a thorough vetting process.”

About Prista Corporation: Prista’s mission is to help healthcare providers create and sustain a “Culture of Quality” in their organizations. In other words, an environment that drives continuous performance improvement in patient care and safety. Prista does this by developing innovative, intuitive, easy-to-use software that goes beyond traditional reporting to provide actionable insights in real-time. With Prista’s ActionCue CI platform, information is more readily available, more meaningful, and more actionably insightful for healthcare executives, managers, and clinical staff.

About TMSI: TORCH Management Services, Inc. is a subsidiary of the Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals (TORCH) created for the purpose of having an organization that could engage with services on behalf of the TORCH membership.  TMSI provides value-added services to rural healthcare organizations, thereby enhancing their opportunities for success.

About TORCH: The Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals envisions rural Texas as having access to the highest quality health care.  To accomplish this, TORCH’s mission is to be the voice and principal advocate for rural and community hospitals in Texas and to provide leadership in addressing the special needs and issues of these hospitals. For more information, visit

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Leadership Contest, Culture and collaboration.

Leadership is Personal – Innovating Improvements is a Team Effort

In his recent article “Leadership is Personal” published on LinkedIn’s Pulse, Keith Thurgood (also a member of Prista’s Board of Directors) notes that, “Despite spending billions on leadership development programs, [these programs] have not achieved their intended outcomes.”

Keith then goes on to say that “leadership is really about influence” and “Leaders understand that context, culture and collaboration matter when it comes to influence.” He then discusses the importance of self-awareness and how effective leaders must work on their personal development from the inside-out.

I always appreciate Keith’s insights, and reflecting on his article took me through ‘leadership’ as a thought exercise and into leadership as a learned set of behaviors – leadership becomes a habit, if you will. Some might call this ‘second nature’ because effective leaders make it appear so natural, but that’s not right, either.

By its very nature, leadership is not a solo practice. If leadership skills are not embodied in certain key collaborative work practices, their effectiveness will fade over time. What are those key collaborative practices, and how can they be facilitated?

At Prista, our experience with clients has made it very clear that the ongoing information work regarding the primary purposes and functions of an organization needs to directly serve the leadership function of that organization. This means the information work needs to deliver leveraged, actionable insights to leaders, not mass data, and these insights need to come from the work process itself, not from quarterly reports.

Leaders give direction and feedback that must be communicated directly and used in the collaborative process, not watered-down nor delayed by coming through side-channel briefings or bulletins. When this happens, real-time accountability becomes “built-in” to the way teams operate.

To be effective and efficient, the flow of information needs to leverage Information Technology and not be a massive human effort. Speaking of Healthcare IT design, Ted Melnick, Director of the Yale Clinical Informatics Fellowship, advised “Relentlessly question why things are done a certain way to ensure health IT doesn't get stuck in a cycle of ‘we do it this way because that’s how we've always done it.’”

Chris Coburn, Chief Innovation Officer at Mass General Brigham (Boston) had this to say about innovation: “Know your organization. Its people and culture will be the source, enablers and, at times, obstacles to innovation.” Leadership is personal, but leading requires a team and being an effective leader involves enabling the team’s success and removing obstacles.

In speaking about innovation teams at Houston Methodist, Michelle Stansbury, VP of Information Technology, takes steps to “ensure that we are focused on the right problems and we can quickly operationalize the transformational solutions.” That’s the key – it’s not information for information sake, or work for work sake, but rather developing solutions that lead to positive changes.

In other words, demanding, seeking and choosing fundamentally innovative design in the tools that equip the business is required, but so is end-user buy-in and participation. When this all comes together, leaders' relationship with information and its use in the organization changes dramatically to the benefit of all.

Prista’s ActionCue CI is an innovative, intuitive, easy-to-use platform that goes beyond traditional reporting to provide actionable insights in real-time. With ActionCue CI, information is more readily available, more meaningful, and more actionably insightful for healthcare executives, managers, and clinical staff. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more.

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Nurses Week Thank You

National Nursing Week 2020

As we prepare to celebrate National Nurses Week during the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s difficult to find words that adequately express the thanks and gratitude that each of us feels for America’s brave, dedicated, and heroic nurses during this crisis. And the truth is that even a week of honoring our nurses simply doesn’t cut it, because they deserve our respect, thanks, and admiration every day of the year.

For many folks, it’s hard to understand why anyone would want to work in such a physically and emotionally demanding profession, but the truth is that many nurses don’t think of it as a profession, but rather as a calling. That was certainly the case for Florence Nightingale, the British nurse whose experiences on the frontlines and advocacy work back home helped reform medical care and established nursing as an essential position in society.

Each year, National Nurses Week begins on May 6th to celebrate America’s nursing professionals and concludes on May 12th–a date that was symbolically chosen because it is also Florence Nightingale’s birthdate. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Nightingale’s birth, the World Health Organization declared 2020 the year of the nurse, which is especially appropriate in this time of global health crisis.

Nursing in the modern era

While supportive care roles have always existed in some form throughout recorded history, nursing as we know it today only came into existence in the second half of the 19th century, as Nightingale and others began to recognize the dire need for skilled healthcare providers, both on the war front and at home.

Nightingale, who cared for wounded British soldiers during the Crimean War, witnessed firsthand the pain and suffering her patients experienced due to a lack of proper medical care and trained nurses. Upon returning to Britain, Nightingale embarked on a campaign of reform, publishing training manuals for nurses and advocating for the establishment of nursing schools and standardized care. In 1860, Nightingale and a group of influential benefactors established a nursing school at St. Thomas’ Hospital, where they began training future generations of nurses to implement their vision of increased care, better patient outcomes, and less global suffering.

Through tireless advocacy work, Nightingale and her supporters revolutionized nursing and helped establish the modern system of care. Politicians and citizens alike began to see that nurses are essential to a functional healthcare system. Working in warzones, hospitals, rural clinics, and family offices around the world, nurses provide critically needed care to patients day in and day out.

Today, Covid-19 provides a somber reminder of how crucial nurses and other frontline workers really are.

Ways to show your support

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, there are many ways that you can show your support–not only during National Nurses Week but also year-round.

  • Show you care and are thinking of them – As natural caretakers, many nurses and providers feel pressure to shield their friends and families from the stress and trauma that accompanies their work, shouldering the burden alone. During this crisis, reach out to the nurse in your life to let them know you’re thinking of them. Offer to make yourself available if they need someone to listen, and check-in with them weekly or bi-weekly. If they do want to talk about their experiences, remember to listen actively and show them you’re there, especially during hard times.
  • Donate PPE – If you or your business have a stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N-95 masks, respirators, or face shields, consider donating it to a local hospital or through an online donation portal. By helping provide essential PPE, we can help keep our nurses and other frontline workers healthy.
  • FLATTEN THE CURVE! – One of the biggest ways we can thank our nurses is by following the guidance of trusted public health officials. Social distancing, frequent hand washing, and minimizing unnecessary trips outside of your home will help slow the spread of the virus and prevent the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed. By abiding by the CDC-recommended best practices, every one of us can help save the lives of patients as well as healthcare workers.
  • Donate to the American Nurses Foundation Coronavirus Response Fund– If you would like to give a financial gift, considering donating to the Covid Response Fund for Nurses, which is run by the American Nurses Foundation, an official partner of the American Nurses Association. This fund benefits nurses in a variety of ways, from offering direct financial relief to funding access to mental health care professionals during this time of crisis.

Today, nurses and other healthcare workers are more united than ever in the face of Covid-19. Simply put, never in our lifetime has there been a greater unified effort to confront an illness on frontlines around the world. Together, let’s thank our nursing professionals and continue the crucial advocacy work needed to ensure that our frontline workers have the resources they need to stay safe.


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ActionCue Clinical Intelligence Software

3 Reasons Why “Designed by Clinicians” is Not Going to Save Healthcare IT

A recent article in Medical Economics, “The Promise of Next Generation EHRs” was an interesting read.  It got me thinking, and there were a few parts of the article that left me uneasy, given the challenges in healthcare today.

First, the article cited reports that point to software as the primary administrative burden to physicians’ productivity. The article notes that inefficiencies in software lead to click fatigue and multitasking, which ultimately lead to mistakes.

Indeed, mistakes are very serious problems in healthcare. However, it’s not only physicians who suffer from inadequate software - nurses, clinicians and a host of administrative staff are spending most of their day using various software systems and applications.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, while stressing the need for flexibility and usability in information technology for healthcare orgs, the author specifically advocates that the best software is “designed by clinicians”. Ironically, this “designed by clinicians” paradigm is a major contributor to the dissatisfaction many users have with healthcare software products – including EHRs.

Of course, healthcare application vendors would be silly not to include significant input from current and former clinicians. Clinicians’ hands-on experience is invaluable to clinical in the form of environmental background, workflows, user scenarios, use cases, specific requirements and other types of content.

The much greater concern over healthcare institutions jumping onto the “designed by clinicians” bandwagon is that it quickly leads to the idea that software must be designed, not by just any clinicians, but by their own in-house team of clinicians.

Thus, when considering new software products, healthcare leaders are quick to ask the vendor, “Can we customize it?” (meaning a unique instance of a product, custom-developed for an organization) before they have seen much of the existing product.  That question is where the real trouble begins. It is far from the end of the story, however.

Challenges in Healthcare Software Design

Improving software in healthcare is a noble - and very necessary – goal. But when the rubber meets the road, software designed exclusively by clinicians leads to three major pain points that are already widespread in healthcare organizations.

Problem #1 – Clinicians and Developers working together: mismatched skills match lead to less than optimal products

 The best software vendors use highly trained with a wide breadth of expertise in fields like information engineering, perceptive science, psychology, user interface (UI) and user experience (UX), for starters.

It takes all these skills and more to shape an optimal UX for a software product. Unfortunately, not every software developer is also gifted with design skills. Similarly, clinicians are untrained in the various disciplines of UX employed by a design expert during the product development process. As end-users, clinicians are often better at describing the problem rather then envisioning “clean slate” solutions that could drive the desired results.

In other words, both sides may be operating outside their area of expertise. Thus, having clinicians tell programmers what they want can lead to problems such as:

  • Communication breakdown over terminology
  • Conflicting approaches to both the problem(s) and potential solutions
  • Extra time spent in design and review processes to educate clinicians on UX and design principles
  • Important design features are diminished or omitted

To avoid this scenario, I feel that the best outcomes result from software designed not by, but with clinicians at multiple points during the design, development and maintenance phases of the software lifecycle.

Problem #2 – Customized product development “branches” leads to higher cost, but not necessarily higher performance

In recent years, custom development of healthcare management platforms has become ever more common. Vendors are eager to offer customization because they can charge more for the end product, while simply passing on the additional development costs directly to the customer. For some, in fact, it’s become a major part of their business model.

The more vendors provide custom development, the more customers ask for it, and so begins a vicious cycle. But the ugly truth is, while custom development or “customization” of healthcare IT products is lucrative for the manufacturer, it doesn’t necessarily benefit the customer. Much of customization work amounts to simple personal preferences which have no effect on patient care outcomes. Custom-developed products

Problem #3 - People tend to lean on (and thus design based on) what they know

One of the most important skills professional software designers have is the applied fundamental of design thinking. Design thinking uses a set of defined principles and constructs, combined with a very intentional process, to realize a desirable end product. Design thinking helps product designers fight the (very human) urge to “go with what you know”.

Most of us, when asked how a new system or product should look or work, will describe something very much like what we have used in the past – regardless of how well that product met our needs. People tend to lean on familiarity (often without even realizing it) which results in a “that’s the way we’ve always done it” attitude. It is this attitude that holds back much-needed progress in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare organizations.

The unintended consequences of this perpetual cycle are:

  • Unintuitive platforms that are difficult to use
  • Software that feels just like a digital version of outdated paper forms
  • Expensive cycles of customization
  • Wariness at trying new products and systems

After a few years and many thousands of dollars, too many healthcare organizations find themselves still encountering the same problems.

Taking steps toward meaningful and effective change in healthcare Performance Improvement Software

So what should healthcare organizations do? It will require a major attitude shift to get out of the rut that’s been dug over decades of stagnation and frustration at ineffective systems. Meaningful change requires buy-in, starting with management on down through all levels of the organization.

Here are some starting principles for effective change:

  • Commit to innovation in selecting, acquiring and using healthcare management software
  • Accept the idea that progress comes with a certain amount of pain
  • Seriously consider newer, smaller vendors because they are the ones best positioned to truly innovate
  • When evaluating a product, focus more on organizational goals and actionable insights needed and less on tasks, processes and reports used in the past
  • Give turnkey products a chance to demonstrate their full functionality before asking about what can be built
  • Focus on whether a product is intuitive, easy-to-use and even exciting to think about using. If it’s not, keep looking

Developing New Approaches in Healthcare Performance Improvement Platform Software

The takeaway here is that optimal product design “takes a village” – a multi-disciplinary team that includes, but is not controlled by, end users (clinicians, physicians, administrative staff).

ActionCue CI is built upon this principle. Our innovative solution was developed in partnership with clinicians, as well as highly trained UX/UI product designers, to address known problems in ways that go beyond what myopic visions of what so-called ”new” solutions can lead to. The dashboard is configurable to meet the unique needs of risk managers, clinicians, and healthcare executives while avoiding the pitfalls of full customization, resulting in a more cost-effective and intuitive product that end users love.  By providing configurability without customization, ActionCue CI delivers an affordable solution that still meets specific users’ needs.

Would youlike to learn more about ActionCue CI and how it can benefit your organization?

 While there, be sure to check out the “Watch It Work!” video and sign-up for brief walk-through of the platform from a Product Specialist.

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ActionCue CI Solution Executive Report

Performance Improvement in Healthcare White Paper Released By Prista Corporation

Performance Improvement: The Hidden Link to Creating a Culture of Clinical Performance” is available now for download from

[Austin, Texas]

Healthcare providers are focused on delivering care. That means always seeking better ways to improve patient outcomes, make reporting easier, and meet financial goals. It’s a big job that never ends. That’s why  Prista Corporation Chief Mission Officer Billie Anne Schoppman and Prista’s President Don Jarrell have co-authored a white paper aimed at helping healthcare executives and others in leadership positions develop a performance improvement focused culture of quality.

The paper sets out a powerful, results-based definition of clinical performance, then moves on to the “hidden link” in creating a Culture of Clinical Performance, including six key elements in creating a performance culture and how the right technology can support performance improvement. The white paper is available for download at

After reading the report, healthcare professionals in leadership roles will be better equipped to inspire and motivate their teams toward developing a true culture of quality and performance improvement that leads to better patient outcomes and improved financial performance. “After all, we didn’t get into this profession to enter data and generate reports. We want to deliver real improvement in patient’s lives,” said Billie Anne Schoppman, Prista’s Chief Mission Officer.

“Managing quality and risk and complying with reporting demand are only two legs of a three-legged stool,” said Don Jarrell, Prista’s President. “The “third leg” is a culture of clinical performance improvement. Without this, although a team might be well within compliance requirements, they are likely not delivering to their full potential and truly achieving performance improvement,” he continued.

Prista’s flagship product, ActionCue Clinical Intelligence (ActionCue CI), is transforming the way hospitals manage incident reporting, risk/quality management and performance improvement. No other software solution addresses all three functions in a single, integrated workflow. Billie Anne Schoppman, has over 35 years of experience in healthcare leadership roles, including patient quality and performance improvement in clinical settings. Don Jarrell has over 35 years of experience in product management and software design for healthcare and telecom industries.

Prista regularly publishes content on their website in the form of blog articles and downloadable white papers. In addition, Prista sends a monthly “quick read” digest of industry items of interest. White papers may be downloaded from the Prista website, and the site also contains a subscription form to get the monthly digest.

About Prista Corporation: Prista’s mission is to help healthcare providers create and sustain a “Culture of Quality” in their organizations. In other words, an environment that drives continuous performance improvement in patient care and safety. Prista does this by developing innovative, intuitive, easy-to-use software that goes beyond traditional reporting to provide actionable insights in real-time. With Prista’s ActionCue CI platform, information is more readily available, more meaningful, and more actionably insightful for healthcare executives, managers, and clinical staff.

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