Texas Health Resources Recognized by CIO Magazine for Innovative Electronic Health Record Technology
06/04/2012

ARLINGTON, Texas — Texas Health Resources has been recognized by IDG’s CIO magazine as a 2012 CIO 100 Awards recipient for its initiative to implement barcode medication verification technology in its systemwide electronic health record (EHR). The award program recognizes 100 organizations around the world and across all industry sectors that exemplify the highest level of operational and strategic excellence in information technology. Texas Health is one of only five health systems or hospitals recognized.

Barcode medication verification allows nurses and other clinicians to use bar code scanning technology, similar to a supermarket checkout, prior to administering medications to confirm patient identity and medication information against patient data in the EHR.

“Barcode medication verification is an enormous patient safety benefit for our nurses across the Texas Health system,” said Joan S. Clark, D.N.P., R.N., senior vice president and chief nursing executive of Texas Health Resources. “Nurses always ask patients questions such as their names and birthdates to verify medications, but the EHR provides electronic backup that you have the right medication in the right dose for the right patient, given by the right route at the right time.”

Fewer than 10 percent of hospitals in the U.S. have implemented barcode medication verification, according to Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics. Texas Health began planning to implement the technology in March 2010 and achieved its first hospital implementation in November of that year. Implementation across all 13 Texas Health wholly owned hospitals was completed in December 2011.

Since implementation of barcode medication verification, patient wrist bands have been scanned at a rate exceeding 95 percent before medication is administered to help ensure correct identification. The medications with barcodes are being scanned 95 percent of the time before they are administered to the patient.

The high rate of use of barcode medication verification technology has helped improve point of care safety processes for medication administration, according to Ferdinand Velasco, M.D., Texas Health’s chief medical information officer.

“Barcode medication verification provides an added layer of patient safety on top of what we were already seeing with computerized physician order entry. The synergy between the two technologies in our electronic health record has yielded tremendous value,” said Velasco.

Texas Health began implementation of a systemwide EHR in 2006. All 13 Texas Health wholly owned hospitals are now securely linked through the EHR. The system has invested more than $200 million in its EHR, which contains more than 4.7 million patient records. In 2011 Texas Health was one of the first health systems nationwide to receive Medicare incentive payments for meeting first stage “meaningful use” criteria for implementation and use of its EHR.

“The CIO 100 Award recognition spotlights the collaborative work of our talented information technology team and compassionate caregivers,” said Edward Marx, Texas Health chief information officer. “Patients across North Texas are benefitting from the innovative application of technology to enhance the care they receive in our hospitals.”

Coverage of the 2012 CIO 100 awards will be online at cio.com on Aug. 1, 2012, and will also appear in the magazine’s Aug. 1 issue.

The award will be presented at the CIO 100 Symposium and Awards Ceremony in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., Aug. 21.

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