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Texas Health Resources Receives Most Wired Innovator Award
07/11/2011

ARLINGTON, Texas — Texas Health Resources has been recognized by Hospital & Health Networks magazine with a 2011 Most Wired Innovator Award. Texas Health received the award, one of six presented nationally, for using “Best Practice” alerts in its electronic health record (EHR) to help reduce the risk of getting blood clots during hospital stays.

Texas Health was also recognized with Hospital & Health Networks’ Most Wired designation for excellence in the adoption, implementation and use of information technology (IT). Texas Health has been named Most Wired for 11 of the past 13 years.

“At Texas Health we have a strong culture of quality that leads to innovative clinical IT projects such as this blood clot reduction initiative,” said Stephen C. Hanson, FACHE, senior executive vice president for system growth and integration for Texas Health Resources. “We welcome this recognition of the collaboration of our clinical and technology teams to improve the quality of care and patient safety at our hospitals.”

Blood clots, called venous thromboembolism (VTE), are among the most common preventable causes of hospital death. Texas Health’s clinical quality project was focused on the prevention of hospital-acquired blood clots throughout Texas Health facilities by early identification of patients at-risk and appropriate and timely intervention strategies conforming to national guidelines and evidence-based practices.

In 2008, Texas Health hospitals began a performance improvement project designed to prevent patients from developing potentially deadly clots. The project uses the EHR to help assess each patient’s risk of developing a clot and to remind clinicians to deliver preventive therapies where necessary. These reminders come in the form of Best Practice alerts that pop up on the computer screen in a bright yellow banner while physicians are interacting with a patient’s medical record. The physician may then order a medication therapy or mechanical compression devices, which wrap around the feet and legs and contract to promote blood flow.

This innovative use of technology has helped contribute to a reduction in post-operative blood clots of greater than 20 percent systemwide since the initiative began. Preventive treatment for blood clots has become standardized, with clinicians either using the recommended therapy or documenting the reason it is not being used. The blood clot risk assessment process has also become more efficient because risk calculations are performed electronically.

“It’s an honor to have vital clinical work recognized,” said Susann Land, M.D., vice president and chief quality officer at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless Bedford, who chaired the multidisciplinary performance improvement committee that developed the guidelines for prevention of hospital-acquired blood clots. “But the most important thing is to help to keep patients safe.”

Texas Health’s work with blood clot prevention aligns with its participation in the federal Partnership for Patients initiative. Sponsored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the initiative’s goal is to help eliminate preventable hospital injuries and complications. VTE prevention is one of the hospital-acquired conditions designated as a focus area by Partnership for Patients.

Texas Health began implementing the EHR in its hospitals in 2006. The health system recently received more than $19.5 million in Medicare incentive payments for meeting “meaningful use” criteria for its EHR. Texas Health was one of the first nationwide to receive the payments for helping advance quality and patient safety through its EHR.

Texas Health will be recognized at the 2011 Health Forum and American Hospital Association Leadership Summit in San Diego, July 17-19.

For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit TexasHealth.org.

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