IT Innovation Earns Recognition for Texas Health Resources Nurses
01/30/2012

ARLINGTON, Texas — Texas Health Resources has been recognized by Healthcare Informatics magazine with a 2012 Innovator Award. One of 13 organizations recognized nationally, Texas Health received the award for the work accomplished by a team of nurses to streamline nurse workflow and documentation in the system’s electronic health record (EHR).

The EHR is a computer-based family of systems for collecting, organizing, sharing and managing clinical and administrative patient information. All of Texas Health’s wholly owned hospitals can securely exchange patient information through the system EHR.

Following completion of implementation of the EHR at 13 Texas Health hospitals in late 2010, a team of nurses representing each of the hospitals as well as nurse information technology analysts analyzed the EHR for functionality and user acceptance.

The Nurse Champions, as the team named themselves, simplified patient admission history records. By lowering the content requirements from 286 separate entries to 150, they reduced the average time of completion from 45 minutes to 20 minutes. They also created a “navigator,” which defines steps in a workflow, for administering blood to patients, decreasing problems in this critical area. This improvement of the blood administration workflow was praised at one hospital by reviewers representing the national Nursing Magnet Recognition Program.

“This process was completely driven by nurses, primarily those at the patient’s bedside in conjunction with experts in information technology who developed the system,” said Mary Beth Mitchell, M.S.N., R.N., BC, chief nursing informatics officer for Texas Health Resources. “The nurses were committed to fine-tune the EHR to meet the needs of all nurses to improve patient care.”

Along with improving nursing workflows and required documentation, the Nurse Champions assisted with training and support of the staff at their hospitals. The group will now transition to the Texas Health’s Nursing Informatics Council, charged with making recommendations for advancing technology for the EHR and in other areas.

“Through this important work, our nurses grew in their leadership ability, knowledge of technology and understanding of working with large groups,” said Joan Clark, D.N.P., R.N., senior vice president and chief nursing executive for Texas Health. “Their dedicated efforts will benefit nurses throughout Texas Health as they use the EHR to help provide quality care for our patients.”

Healthcare Informatics will recognize Texas Health and the other Innovators at the 2012 Annual Conference of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) in Las Vegas on Feb. 21. HIMSS is the nation’s major health information technology association.

Texas Health’s EHR was recognized last July 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.

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