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Computerworld Honors Texas Health as Technology Laureate
04/03/2012

ARLINGTON, Texas — IDG’s Computerworld magazine has recognized Texas Health Resources as a 2012 Computerworld Honors Laureate. Texas Health was recognized for using “Best Practice” alerts in its electronic health record (EHR) to help reduce the risk of getting blood clots during hospital stays.

The annual Computerworld Honors program honors visionary applications of information technology (IT) promoting social, economic and educational change. Judges, primarily IT leaders from diverse industries, evaluate the humanitarian benefits and measurable results of applying technology to meet a specific social need.

“Texas Health’s 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,” said Mark Lester, M.D., interim chief clinical and quality officer at Texas Health Resources.

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 also received a 2011 Most Wired Innovator Award from Hospital & Health Networks magazine, one of only six presented nationally. The project was also recognized as one of “20 Innovative IT Ideas to Steal” by InformationWeek in 2011 when Texas Health was named to the InformationWeek 500 List of Top Technology Innovators Across America.

Texas Health began implementing the EHR in its hospitals in 2006. All 13 wholly owned Texas Health Resources hospitals are now linked through the EHR and have the capability to securely share information across the health system.

“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.”

The Computerworld Honors Program recipients will appear in the magazine’s June 4 issue and online at www.Computerworld.com. The Computerworld Honors Program awards will be presented at the Gala Evening and Awards Ceremony on June 4, 2012, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

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

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