Two Healthcare Informatics Innovator Award Winners Increase the Quality of Healthcare and Preparing for Population Health Management

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Nurse speaking with a patientUT Southwestern Medical Center

Healthcare informatics exists to improve the quality of patient care. The UT Southwestern Medical Center is categorically succeeding in this objective. This large Dallas based health system is comprised of two hospitals that serve nearly 800,000 outpatients each year. The leaders at UT Southwestern have created a clinical quality initiative that is remarkably replicable. Their leadership in the field, and the Ambulatory Quality Outcomes (AQO) Project they have created led to their first place team win in the 2016 Innovator Awards program. They were also honored with the coveted Stage 7 Awards from HIMSS Analytics in recognition of their paperless operating environment.

The UT Southwestern team, involving clinical informatics, IT, analytics and administrative leaders came together to create the Ambulatory Quality Outcomes Project that is “improving processes and outcomes across 40 medical specialties, and using rapid-cycle improvement processes to improve care delivery and care management, physician collaboration, and the capability to participate in meaningful quality outcomes benchmarking.”

By engaging physician leaders from a large number of clinics and creating a standardized data architecture for the clinical decision support mechanism to be leveraged within electronic health records, they set out to prove demonstrable patient care quality outcomes.

Mark Rauschuber, associate vice president and CIO, says, “We’re a proud institution; we have six Nobel laureates on staff at the university. But we wanted to show the data to prove our quality of care.” “Our culture had been one where we were struggling along, giving people some really cool one-off projects, but we shifted towards broad building of quality,” says Jason Fish, M.D., assistant vice president for ambulatory quality, and associate CMIO”

Scottsdale Health Partners

Through a multidisciplinary initiative aimed at streamlining care, Scottsdale Health Partners are facilitating the ability of care coordinators to monitor patients in real-time, which allows them to meet the needs of population health management. SHP reduced hospital readmission rates to below 9 percent, significantly less than the state average. Because of these outstanding results, achieved through a remarkably innovative approach, the editors at Healthcare Informatics have named the Scottsdale Health Partners team the 2nd place winners of the HCI 2016 Innovator Awards program.

Tiffany Nelson, M.D. and chief strategy officer at SHP, explains their success: “A lot of the success we’ve had around reducing readmission rates is because we’re able to notify the primary care physician in real time and tell them what’s going on with their patients in the hospital. As a result, patients get in to see their primary care physician within the right timeframes and the right follow-up is planned, which helps keep them out of the hospital.”

The SHP team realized that inefficient communication was causing problems in the form of unnecessary wait times and possible readmissions. They also noticed redundancies in their hospital generated ADT (Admit, Transfer, Discharge) messages. By addressing these problems, finding solutions and implementing protocols to eliminate these errors in the future, SHP was applied informatics to improve data quality and thereby increase the overall quality of patient care.

Learn More

If you are interested in furthering your career in health informatics, consider enrolling in the online Master of Science in Health Informatics degree program with the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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