Two health systems score Davies awards

Mount Sinai Medical Center is at the juncture of the nation's most affluent zip code, and its poorest.

Mount Sinai and Hawai'i Pacific Health credit EHRs with improved patient care, better financial performance and innovation

Two Stage 6 hospitals, one in Manhattan and the other in Honolulu  -  Mount Sinai Medical Center and Hawai'i Pacific Health  -  are due to pick up their 2012 Enterprise HIMSS Davies Awards of Excellence at the 2013 Annual HIMSS Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans, March 3-7.

The Davies Award recognizes excellence in health information technology, specifically excellence in use of the electronic health records (EHRs) to successfully improve quality of care and patient safety.

The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City encompasses both the Mount Sinai Hospital and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Founded in 1852, the hospital is a 1,171-bed tertiary and quaternary care teaching facility and one of the nation's oldest and largest teaching hospitals. Nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients in 2011, and approximately one million outpatient visits took place. 

Located on the Upper East Side of New York, the Mount Sinai team noted in its Davies application that the hospital is at "an intersection of the wealthiest and poorest zip codes in the country," and has the responsibility of meeting the medical needs of both affluent and indigent patients.

"The long term benefits of our new EMR system, which I consider the backbone of our care today, are far reaching," Kenneth Davis, CEO of Mount Sinai, said in a news release. "It enables new reimbursement models, improvements in safety and quality, and accelerated research and innovation." 

The case studies that Mount Sinai submitted as part of its Davies Award application detailed the formation of a leadership and governance structure as well as the use of a Program Management Office to ensure that stringent program management methodologies were utilized throughout the implementation of its Epic EHR. 

In the leadership and governance case study, the Mount Sinai team, led by Kristen Myers, vice president, information technology, wrote: "Commitment to a strong leadership and governance model led to an on-time, on-budget EHR implementation. Key traits of the governance structure included a mandate for physicians to use the EHR, 'overwhelming' communication from the C-suite, and organizational fortitude to convince the vendor to make changes to their long-standing methodology to better align with MSMC needs."

Mount Sinai also developed a change management program, which placed clinical champions at the forefront of the transformation. This allowed clinical champions, front line nurses, trainers and other resources to assume ownership of the EHR implementation and therefore drive the clinical transformation, the Mount Sinai team noted in its application.

The team further noted that the EHR continues to serve as a strong enabler for clinical innovation as demonstrated by the Preventable Admissions Care Team and the "Stop Sepsis" initiative, both of which are dramatically improving quality outcomes for patients. Quality, safety and efficiency metrics have improved since system implementation and are apparent in meaningful use core and menu objective reporting. 

As Eric Hartz, MD, chair of the HIMSS Enterprise Davies Award Committee and chief medical information officer at Trinity Healthcare, sees it, "The implementation of healthcare technology has enabled Mount Sinai to derive both clinical and financial value in the challenging environment of a medical teaching, patient care and research facility."