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InformationWeek Recognizes Texas Health Resources for Innovative Use of Technology
09/15/2011

ARLINGTON, Texas — Texas Health Resources’ initiatives to improve patient care have again been recognized as the health system was named to the 2011 InformationWeek 500 List of Top Technology Innovators Across America. Texas Health ranked No. 62 on the list. Texas Health has appeared on the list for 11 consecutive years. It is the only Metroplex-based company, and the only health care system nationwide, to have achieved this long-running distinction.

Along with the Top 500 ranking, Texas Health was further recognized for innovation for using “Best Practice” alerts in its electronic health record (EHR) to help reduce the risk of getting blood clots during hospital stays.

The InformationWeek 500 honoree list for 2011 appears online and in the magazine’s Sept. 19 issue. The blood clot reduction project is profiled online as one of “20 Innovative IT Ideas to Steal.”

“Texas Health takes an innovative approach to everything we do, whether improving the quality of care or implementing advanced technology. The electronic health record and other innovations help us provide coordinated care across our system,” said Stephen C. Hanson, senior executive vice president for system growth and integration.

“Our strong culture of quality leads to innovative clinical IT projects such as this blood clot reduction initiative. 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.

The blood clot reduction project was also recognized in July with a 2011 Most Wired Innovator Award from Hospital & Health Networks magazine. The award was one of only six presented nationally.

Texas Health began implementing the EHR in its hospitals in 2006. The health system recently received more than $26.8 million in Medicare and Texas Medicaid incentive payments for meeting “meaningful use” criteria for its EHR. Texas Health was one of the first nationwide to receive the Medicare payments for helping advance quality and patient safety through its EHR.

“Our innovation is guided by our mission — to improve the health of the people in the communities we serve,” said Edward Marx, Texas Health chief information officer. “Our dedicated professionals are always focused on how new technologies and processes can better serve the health care needs of more than 6 million North Texans.”

Texas Health was recognized at the InformationWeek 500 Conference and Gala Awards in Monarch Beach, Calif., on Sept. 13.

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

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