'Most Connected' List of Hospitals Includes Four From Texas Health Resources

DALLAS — Four Texas Health Resources hospitals have been named among the “most connected” in the United States by U.S. News and World Report.

Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, Texas Health Presbyterian Hosptial Plano and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas were the only adult-care hospitals in North Texas to be named to the "Most Connected Hospitals" list. Children's Medical Center of Dallas was the only other North Texas hospital honored.

"Recognition like this is important because it shows that our commitment to technology is improving the quality of care," said Edward Marx, chief information officer of Texas Health Resources.

In 2010, Texas Health and Children’s Medical Center created the first system in Dallas-Fort Worth to electronically share medical information on mutually treated patients. Since 2006 Texas Health has invested more than $200 million in its electronic health record (EHR), which contains more than 4.7 million patient records.

“We’ve made a substantial financial commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements,” Marx said, “and we’re making a significant intellectual investment by empowering teams of our most talented clinicians and technology leaders to advance our system.”

To be recognized by U.S. News, hospitals must meet twin standards of “solid medicine and early adoption of information technology," according to the magazine's annual rankings of top U.S. hospitals. To make the list, hospitals also had to be ranked as “high-performing” in one or more medical specialties.

“The hospitals have met three challenging standards that put them in the vanguard of centers leading medicine into the era of electronic medical records (EMRs),” according to the editors. “And each hospital ... is a leader in moving to electronic medical records.”

Nationwide, only 156 hospitals were recognized by U.S. News.

“This is a select group of the country’s top medical centers,” said Ferdinand Velasco, M.D., chief health information officer of Texas Health Resources. “We’re honored to be a part of this select group and will continue to push for technological advancements that enhance the quality, safety and efficiency of care.”

The computer-based EHR collects, organizes, shares and manages clinical and administrative information. The system is used by physicians on the medical staff, nurses and caregivers throughout the hospital and with other linked facilities. In addition to saving millions of dollars in paperwork, electronic records reduce medical errors and improve care, with software that automatically alerts clinicians to potential medical problems a patient could have.

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

The system’s EHR is operating at a high level of capability and patient safety, with all 13 hospitals having achieved Stage 6 designation on their EHR from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the nation’s major health information technology association. Reaching the sixth of seven stages means the hospitals have implemented barcode medication verification to help prevent medication errors. Only 8 percent of U.S. hospitals have reached stages 6 or 7. Texas Health hospitals are now working toward the final stage of HIMSS EHR recognition.

In addition to the “most connected” list, Texas Health has been recognized by other publications and organizations for EHR implementation:

  • Texas Health received a 2012 Most Wired Innovator Award from Hospital & Health Networks magazine, one of six awards presented nationally, for using technology to help prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infection. The system rapidly incorporated a newly developed “best practice” protocol for urinary catheter removal into its EHR and deployed the changes to the entire health system.
  • Texas Health was also named a 2012 Computerworld Honors Laureate for using “Best Practice” alerts in its EHR to help reduce the risk of getting blood clots during hospital stays.
  • The 2012 CIO 100 Awards recognized Texas Health’s initiative to implement barcode medication verification technology in the EHR.
  • In 2011, Texas Health was one of the first health systems nationwide to receive federal Medicare payments for effectively meeting “meaningful use” criteria for its EHR to enhance patient care and safety.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health systems in the United States. The health system includes 25 acute care and short-stay hospitals that are owned, operated, joint-ventured or affiliated with Texas Health Resources. It includes the Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Arlington Memorial and Texas Health Harris Methodist hospitals, Huguley Memorial Medical Center, Texas Health Physicians Group, outpatient facilities, behavioral health and home health, preventive and fitness services, and an organization for medical research and education. For more information about Texas Health Resources, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org.