How Texas Health Resources is moving beyond EHR implementation and back to its main mission

Now that the healthcare industry is mostly digitized, leading hospitals like THR are looking at how to use technology as an enabler for improving health, CHIO Ferdinand Velasco said.

Not so long ago, the U.S. federal government was honed in on rewarding healthcare providers for IT adoption and healthcare providers themselves were solely focused on the difficult task of hardwiring electronic health records into their daily workflow. With EHRs now nearly universally adopted, that emphasis is changing.

 “It’s more about how we are using the EHR, as well as other technology,” according to Ferdinand Velasco, MD, chief health information officer at Texas Health Resources, a 14-hospital integrated delivery system in North Texas that has a long history of being advanced when it comes to EHR adoption.

More than 10 years ago, Texas Health achieved Stage 7 recognition, the highest level of EHR adoption and implementation given by HIMSS Analytics. Texas Health also received the HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence in 2013.

“Technology has become the enabler, or a tool to support better management of patient care,” Velasco said. “I think this is a significant shift in focus. Now, we are getting back to our main focus of improving health, and our technology supports that.”

According to Mary Beth Mitchell, chief nursing informatics officer at Texas Health, the shift in emphasis has allowed more organizations to start focusing on becoming a High Reliability Organization (HRO) — a hospital that reliably prevents harm to patients. 

Texas Health is achieving HRO status through the use of a Reliable Care Blueprint to drive standardization and high reliability, while ensuring that the system is implementing evidenced-based practice throughout all of its hospitals. “We like to say: every patient, every location, every time,” Mitchell explained.

In light of the new value-based care reimbursement models, healthcare organizations are trying to determine how they can improve their clinical outcomes while demonstrating true value in what they do, Mitchell added.

“I think that this work is not easy, but it is necessary,” said Joni Padden, a nursing informatics specialist at Texas Health.  “Through our technology, we have the ability to help drive desired workflows, and then the ability to monitor and manage what we are trying to accomplish through better clinical practices.”

Mitchell, Velasco and Padden will be discussing ways that Texas Health is managing patient outcomes to adapt to value-based care payment models and clinical outcome requirements at HIMSS17.

Their session, “Improving Patient Outcomes by Hardwiring Patient Care,” is schedule for Monday, Feb. 20, 2017 at 10:30-11:30 a.m. EST in Room 331A.  

HIMSS17 runs from Feb. 19-23, 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center.

This article is part of our ongoing coverage of HIMSS17. Visit Destination HIMSS17 for previews, reporting live from the show floor and after the conference.

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