Catasauqua Press

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Lehigh Valley Health Network receives top info tech awards

Friday, October 6, 2017 by The Press in Business Showcase

In the world of entertainment, winning an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) is considered a grand slam.

In the world of Health Information Technology (HIT), Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) achieved a similar multifaceted achievement during the summer of 2017 by receiving Healthcare and Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) EMR Adoption Model Stage 7 designation (for inpatient and ambulatory care) in May, three Most Wired awards, including Innovator and Advanced in June, and the prestigious HIMSS Davies Award in August.

The latest award, the HIMSS Nicholas E. Davies Award of Excellence, is considered to be the pinnacle of health IT achievement.

HIMSS is an international health IT organization that works to transform health and healthcare through the best use of information technology with thought leadership, community building, professional development, public policy, and events.

In August, representatives from HIMSS Davies Committee did an on-site review that included three case studies where LVHN leaders shared how they innovate with the electronic health record (EHR) and other technologies. After deliberation, the HIMSS Davies Committee awarded LVHN the Davies Award of Excellence.

Michael Minear, LVHN Chief Information Officer, said, “The Davies Award is especially meaningful because it assessed the work that literally thousands of LVHN’s clinical, administrative, informatics and technology support colleagues have done to deploy and use the EHR to enhance patient care.”

Jonathan French, Senior Director of Health Information Systems Quality and Patient Safety at HIMSS, said, “Lehigh Valley Health Network has demonstrated their dedication to patient engagement through their ‘huddle meetings’ with staff, which have help strengthen internal communications while keeping patient needs top of mind.

“Their efforts to reduce sepsis mortality rates and improve ambulatory care processes have also led to their recognition as a 2017 HIMSS Enterprise Davies Award recipient,” said French.

According to LVHN, the “daily huddle” is a daily highly-focused meeting of hospital leaders supported by real-time data in the EHR. Each morning, clinical and administrative leaders representing all functions in each LVHN hospital meet to review the needs of patients, and optimize patient flow and support.

The daily huddle supported a 94-percent improvement in early discharges (prior to 11 a.m.); a 34-percent improvement in patient wait times to move from the Emergency Department (ED) or Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) to an inpatient bed; decreased Length Of Stay (LOS) by 5-percent for all ED patients (equivalent to adding 34,200 additional bed hours for patient care); and resulted in no diversions from the ED because of a lack of bed space. For patients, this has meant shorter wait times, getting care faster, and better clinical outcomes, LVHN stated in a press release.

Sepsis is an aggressive, all-encompassing response to infection in the body. For too many patients, sepsis is fatal. To help reduce sepsis mortality, LVHN colleagues created a sophisticated improvement process led by a multi-disciplinary team to define and implement best practice for the clinical workflow to manage patients optimally and reduce mortality from sepsis.

The project resulted in an initial 40-percent reduction in sepsis mortality over a five-month period. The sepsis program has contributed to LVHN being ranked among the best nationally at achieving low levels in mortality.

For most patients, the part of the LVHN EMR system that is “visible” to them is the patient portal, known as MyLVHN. Before MyLVHN was implemented (during the Epic ambulatory EHR go-live in February 2015), more than one patient portal existed at LVHN, and all had low enrollment and engagement rates.

MyLVHN achieved more than 100,000 registered LVHN patients in the first year. Now in year two, LVHN has nearly 180,000 patients using the portal. By providing access and tools directly to patients and families to manage their care, both better service and better care is delivered.

Patient and provider use of the portal has resulted in many process improvements for ambulatory practices including: self-scheduled appointments have a 2-percent no-show rate compared to 7 percent no-show rates of appointments scheduled other ways, patient self-scheduling through MyLVHN more than doubled in the first six months of go-live in 2017, patient satisfaction rose from 87.2 percent to 91 percent over a 12-month period (equivalent to a move from 37 percent to 64 percent in national rankings), and new primary care appointments are scheduled within two weeks 53 percent of the time versus 26 percent of the time before MyLVHN.

The LVHN team will formally receive the Davies Award in March at the 2018 HIMSS National Conference and Exhibition in Las Vegas.