InformationWeek Recognizes Texas Health Resources for Innovative Use of Technology
09/13/2012

ARLINGTON, Texas — Texas Health Resources’ initiatives to improve patient care have again been recognized as the health system was named to the 2012 InformationWeek 500 List of Top Technology Innovators Across America. Texas Health has appeared on the list for 12 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 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 electronic health record (EHR) and deployed the changes to the entire health system.

“At Texas Health we have a strong culture of quality that leads to innovative clinical IT projects such as this initiative to reduce catheter-associated infection,” said Luis Saldana, M.D., associate chief medical information officer for Texas Health Resources. “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.”

Catheter-associated urinary tract infection, a common and potentially preventable complication of hospitalization, is the most frequent health care-associated infection in the United States. Urinary catheter use is common, with approximately one in every five patients admitted to an acute care hospital receiving an indwelling catheter. Infection occurs frequently, with urinary tract bacteria increasing approximately 5 percent each day of catheter use.

To help prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infections, Texas Health established criteria for urinary catheter removal by a nurse within 48 hours of insertion, if no physician order has been placed. Texas Health Resources’ Innovative Technology Solutions division then used collaboration workgroup and social media tools to rapidly incorporate this best practice protocol by modifying and testing changes to 1,639 order sets within the system’s EHR and deploying the changes to the entire health system within three weeks of Medical Executive Board approvals.

This innovative use of technology in implementing an enhanced protocol has helped contribute to a reduction in urethral catheter line days (time catheter is placed in a patient) from an average of 1.88 days to 1.41 days within the first 60 days following implementation of the new guidelines. The number of physician orders associated with catheter placement has been streamlined from eight to four, and systemwide protocol use increased by 11 percent within five months of implementation.

“It’s an honor to have vital clinical applications of technology recognized,” said Ferdinand Velasco, M.D., chief health information officer of Texas Health Resources. “But the most important thing is to help to keep patients safe.”

Using the system EHR to help reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infection aligns with Texas Health’s efforts to achieve one of the goals of the federal Partnership for Patients initiative: to reduce preventable all-cause harm rates, including hospital-acquired infections, in system hospitals by 40 percent by the end of 2013.

The project was also recognized by Hospital & Health Networks magazine with a 2012 Most Wired Innovator Award, one of six presented nationally, and as one of three “Stories of Success” by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, the nation’s major health information technology association.

Texas Health Resources strongly believes in the use of the electronic health record to help advance quality and patient safety. The system began implementation of its EHR in 2006 and now has more than 4.7 million electronic patient records. Early adoption of the EHR led Texas Health to become one of the first health systems nationally to demonstrate achievement of stage 1 meaningful use requirements and receive federal Medicare incentive payments in 2011.

Texas Health was recognized at the InformationWeek 500 Conference and Gala Awards in Monarch Beach, Calif., on Sept. 11.

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.