Case Study: MedStar Health


“PBworks encourages collaboration...This increases our group's productivity.”

Dr. Chris Wuerker, Medical Director


Dr. Chris Wuerker has an important job. He's the Medical Director for MedSTAR Transport, the group within Washington Hospital Center that handles emergency air and ground transportation for MedStar Health.


MedStar Health is a $4 billion not-for-profit hospital system in the Washington, D.C. region. Its 5,300 doctors serves over half a million patients per year. MedSTAR Transport handles the life-and-death work of transporting patients, via ambulance and helicopter, to emergency care centers.


Given the frantic pace of this emergency work, MedSTAR Transport's team can't afford to waste time. That's why Dr. Wuerker deployed PBworks as the group's key knowledge management solution.


“PBworks is enhancing our productivity,” said Dr. Wuerker, “We get big returns by allowing our team members to access and contribute information through a simple user interface.” Previously, MedSTAR Transport spent an inordinate amount of time managing information; by deploying a collaborative knowledgebase, the group spends less time and shares more critical information.


“For example, we meet with new employees, give them access to the knowledgebase, and tell them to contribute,” said Dr. Wuerker. “This makes them feel empowered and contributes a fresh set of eyes to the organization.” Employees use the knowledgebase to find answers for questions like: “What is the weight limit on the MRI machine?” And if they can’t find the answer they’re looking for, there’s a space within PBworks where they can log their question and more experienced employees can follow up.


“This kind of knowledge has always been locked away in someone's brain, and isn’t accessible without asking around to determine who might know the answer,” said Dr. Wuerker. “The person who knows the answer is usually somebody's who's been with us a long time, and when these veterans retire, the information goes with them. PBworks helps us retain that critical knowledge.”


In addition to this collaborative knowledgebase, MedSTAR Transpart also uses PBworks as a formal repository for policies and procedures. Not only does this save the group a great deal of time and money by eliminating the need for formal annual or biannual updates via email and printed documents, it actually improves the content.


“The true advantage comes from allowing comments,” Dr. Wuerker explained. “The people in the trenches can log information that’s relevant to the policies and procedures. They may even need to modify the relevant item due to current or recent events. PBworks lets the appropriate owner of the content review the comments and make changes as needed.” Dr. Wuerker noted that the commenting process even had the effect of helping to nuture talent in the organization. “Rising stars that are knowledgeable can contribute valuable content, which is noticed by managers in the organization.”


While the PBworks deployment began with a single small initiative within one group at MedSTAR Transport, it’s grown into a valuable tool that is being used by multiple departments in multiple hospitals throughout MedStar Health. “PBworks encourages collaboration, which is the reverse of what's typically been done,” concluded Dr. Wuerker. “This increases our group's productivity.”

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