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UT Southwestern Recognized for Innovative System on Best Quality Care

by Bidita Debnath on February 7, 2016 at 11:28 PM
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 UT Southwestern Recognized for Innovative System on Best Quality Care

In support of UT Southwestern's patient-centered care, UT Southwestern Medical Center has received the 2016 Healthcare Informatics Innovator of the Year Award for developing a comprehensive and agile system to identify, track, and report clinical quality and patient-reported outcomes across all ambulatory clinics.

The systems have been implemented in more than 50 clinics covering over 30,000 patients to date across the Medical Center. The initiative involves more than 130 quality metrics with over 100 new support tools addressing more than 120 medical common and specialty medical conditions. A key aspect of the program includes a focus on the outcomes most important to patients.


"Patients trust UT Southwestern for their care because of the high level of expertise that our physicians and other caregivers are able to provide. This complex initiative has been a tremendous undertaking that fundamentally builds into our system the multiple levels of quality assurance and technical sophistication needed to reinforce that expertise," said Dr. Bruce Meyer, Executive Vice President for Health System Affairs and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, who holds the T.C. Lupton Family Professorship in Patient Care, in Honor of Dr. John Dowling McConnell and Dr. David Andrew Pistenmaa. "Most appropriately, it reflects our best effort to assess our performance based on the factors that our patients consider important."

In 2015, Dr. Jason Fish, Ambulatory Quality Officer and Assistant Vice President of Ambulatory Quality Outcomes and Performance Improvement, brought together four groups - clinical staff, information resources specialists, quality analysts, and data analysts - to jointly design and build a system of care delivery that focuses on identifying and improving key clinic processes and patient outcomes in the outpatient setting.

"With growing emphasis on care delivery across the health system, we strove to create a replicable quality improvement program that can still be tailored to accommodate each clinic's patient population," said Dr. Fish, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine.

Together, the teams developed clinical decision support, data management systems, and quality metrics within UT Southwestern's Epic Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. By making these tools available to clinicians and managers in real time, physicians, nurses, and other caregivers can more readily deliver the most evidence-based and patient-centric care.

"Through the collaborative work of these teams, we are now better able to identify potential opportunities to improve care for individual patients - for example, by highlighting a patient overdue for a needed screening or not yet on a recommended therapy for their particular condition, and adjust as needed to ensure they see the best outcome," said Dr. DuWayne Willett, Chief Medical Informatics Officer and Professor of Internal Medicine.

"The system combines our desire to ensure we're following best practices and our commitment to ongoing quality improvement," said Mark Rauschuber, Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer for UT Southwestern's Health Systems Information Resources. "The end result is a quality improvement system that is agile, specialized, yet with the goal of being simple to understand and use."

In future years, the system will allow further comparison of the data to improve clinic operations, promote best practices, and fine-tune each patient's care. The initiative, Ambulatory Quality Outcomes: Rapid Development of EHR-Based Specialty Registries, is featured in the January/February issue of Healthcare Informatics, and its developers will be honored during a conference in March. 

"It is our privilege once again this year to honor teams that are at the absolute tip of the spear in forging transformative change, through this year's Healthcare Informatics Innovator Awards Program," said Healthcare Informatics Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland in announcing the awards. "The Ambulatory Quality Outcomes Project initiative moving forward at the UT Southwestern Medical Center health system is exactly the kind of innovative work that we at HCI are always looking to showcase for our readers."

Project leaders included Stacey Clark, Assistant Vice President, Ambulatory Operations and Training; Ki Lai, Assistant Vice President for Enterprise Data Services; Adrian White, Director of Performance Improvement; Deepa Bhat, Director of Health System Quality Performance Measurement and Analytics; Jackie Mutz, RN, Assistant Director of Ambulatory Quality; and Vaishnavi Kannan, an EHR and clinical decision support specialist.

The UT Southwestern initiative is part of the Medical Center's Clinical Transformation agenda, priorities established in UT Southwestern's strategic plan to ensure top-level, data- driven care. Other efforts have included launch of a public website displaying quality data from UT Southwestern University Hospitals and Clinics, innovative technology that allows physicians to share information for better collaborations, and updates to electronic health record systems so patients can better track their health on tablets and mobile phones. The impact has been recognized through quality improvement and patient satisfaction awards.

In 2015, UT Southwestern's William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital received a national Rising Star Quality Leadership award from the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) for its quality and safety efforts. UT Southwestern ranks within the top 20.

Also in 2015, UT Southwestern's Zale Lipshy University Hospital received major patient satisfaction awards from Press Ganey, a national consulting firm that recognizes leading health care facilities for excellence in patient satisfaction.

"As a leading academic medical center, one of our goals is for UTSW to set the standard for data-driven quality care, so our patients can make informed choices regarding their health care," said Dr. Gary Reed, Associate Dean for Quality, Safety, and Outcomes Education, and Professor of Internal Medicine. Dr. Reed holds the S.T. Harris Family Distinguished Chair in Internal Medicine, in Honor of Gary Reed, M.D.; the Eva A. Rosenthal Professorship in Internal Medicine, in Honor of Gary Reed, M.D.; and the Sinor/Pritchard (Katy Sinor and Kay Pritchard) Professorship in Medical Education Honoring Donald W. Seldin, M.D.

Source: Newswise

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