It is my pleasure to provide this letter of reference regarding Mr. Robert Bonofiglo with whom I have worked closely from October 26, 2009 to May 20, 2011. During this period, Mr. Bonofiglo [Senior Consultant, Advantage Administration, Inc.] has served as the project manager for the development and deployment of the VersaSuite PM/EMR/PACS electronic medical record for the Department of Ophthalmology at UCLA.
This has truly been a unique journey for all of us. We never could have predicted the complexity of the challenges that we faced literally across all aspects of this project. Mr. Bonofiglo [Advantage Administration, Inc.] was retained to deploy VersaSuite, because of his experience and prior deployment activities. Extensive initial onsite investigation identified numerous IT, facility and integration needs that need to be addressed. Mr. Bonofiglo oversaw all aspects of the project IT and facility development including recruitment of an interim IT manager (Mr. John Aboud, also from Advantage Administration, Inc.), who brought critical expertise to our IT issues, the development of new and complex server configurations for the EMR and PACS, clinical workstation development and deployment as well as completely redesigning the functionality of the VersaSuite software inclusive of beta testing and the deployment of components of the system. Mr. Bonofiglo identified a UCLA set aside fund that allowed us to completely wire the department for the EMR which saved the department over $1.5M dollars. We are finally in the process of moving beyond the beta testing of the PACS for VersaSuite and beginning the deployment of the scheduling and practice management components for the primary retinal diagnostic units and divisions.
Mr. Bonofiglo had to work with multiple vendors to integrate their diagnostic instruments into our PACS, which is the first, truly DICOM-compliant ophthalmic PACS ever to be deployed. He was instrumental in negotiating numerous DICOM beta agreements with our instrument vendors to achieve this prospective capability, as well as the scripts and programs the department will require to convert our legacy data from proprietary file formats to DICOM files which was facilitated by his clinical experience. He served as a strong advocate for the Department of Ophthalmology with multiple vendors whose software frequently did not perform as claimed and wasn’t delivered as promised. He pushed back against multiple vendors who offered us key functionality to achieve DICOM compliance and then altered the terms of their agreement to attempt to coerce us to make large, unnecessary expenditures. One of these efforts resulted in our development of comparable functionality within the VersaSuite application, which has made it possible for us to work with any non-DICOM output from our legacy instruments.
He navigated among the complex constituencies within UCLA to secure the support and assistance of the UCLA Medical Center IT people with regard to the legacy registration, scheduling and records systems and ensured that we met the compliance standards established by the medical center. He has coordinated the efforts of UCLA facilities for wiring, fabrication and installation of clinical workstations as well as successfully negotiated a paper records management solution with UCLA that saved the department over a million dollars. He also effectively represented the ophthalmology department with UCLA IT Security, HIPAA and Compliance offices. There is no way that I can effectively summarize all of the issues and individuals that Mr. Bonofiglo had to address during this period.
For Mr. Bonofiglo and myself, our experience together has been much like rafting a wild river. There have been a few moments of calm interspersed with periods of complete turbulence as deadlines were missed and obstacles appeared out of nowhere. There is the frustration that we haven’t achieved all of the goals that we have set but we are clearly now in a position in which we can see the destination ahead of us. I doubt that the water will be calm the rest of the way, but I am confident that we will face no challenges that we can’t overcome or that will be more difficult than the ones that we have already faced. Mr. Bonofiglo is not a technical expert and yet he has had to grapple with the resolution of technical challenges that required the efforts and experience of multiple parties. Unfortunately, there were issues with some of the individuals from VersaSuite whose actions required that they be counseled and ultimately released from onsite work at UCLA. Mr. Bonofiglo was forthright in assessing these situations and instrumental in their resolution.
Throughout all of this, Mr. Bonofiglo has remained totally energized and committed to this project, loyal and fiercely protective of the interests of the Department of Ophthalmology, even when it put him potentially at odds with VersaSuite, the other major player in this project. He has been responsive to the needs and demands of the Department of Ophthalmology administration and to establishing timelines and deliverables for the project, while constantly adapting to the changing demands of the project and the inconsistencies of deliverables from the providers as well as the fact that UCLA has faced its own challenges in getting faculty and staff to engage in the process in a timely fashion. Mr. Bonofiglo is committed to the engagement of all parties, the need to effectively communicate and engage all of the relevant constituencies and to do so in a way that is respectful of their concerns and constraints. If he has a weakness, it is that he takes his work at a very personal level but this also is a strength because he advocates and assumes accountability. I have real trust in his judgment and experience and have sought his counsel, even when it is critical of my own actions. His efforts have helped me be more effective and focused as the medical director of this project.
Bob has repeatedly told me that this is the first project that he has every managed that he did not see to completion. However this is not because he failed, but because of the numerous unanticipated development aspects of the project and our administration has been desirous of having our new clinical administrative leadership and IT leadership assume the final deployment and management of the project. This is not going to be a project that will have a simple, go-live date as we phase in different components of the system across multiple divisions. There will continue to be some development as we proceed with deployment over the coming year.
Thus, it was inevitable that this transition would occur during the process and not at the end. However Bob Bonofiglo has taken us to a point at which these two individuals can realistically hope to carry on the process and has delivered the tools (i.e. Gantt chart) and guidance to us to completion.
It has been a privilege and an honor for me to have worked with Bob Bonofiglo [Advantage Administration, Inc.]. I have learned a great deal from him as we have toiled together on this enterprise. I, perhaps more than anyone else connected to this project, appreciate and realize the enormous challenges and responsibilities that he has had to face. We could never have gotten this far without him. If you have questions or would like to further discuss Mr. Bonofiglo, I can be reached at (310) 794-5400.
Michael B. Gorin, MD PhD
Harold and Pauline Price Professor of Ophthalmology
Medical Director – Ophthalmology EMR/PACS project
Chief – Division of Retinal Disorders and Ophthalmic Genetics
Department of Ophthalmology
David Geffen School of Medicine – UCLA
Jules Stein Eye Institute