An enterprise-wide data warehouse and a cross-functional team approach to analyze care delivery and protocols has enabled Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston to improve care and achieve millions of dollars in savings at the same time.
Implementing electronic health records was only a starting point for the process, says Myra Davis, senior vice president and CIO for the Houston-based facility. Analyzing the data from the EHR system and other information systems in the hospital with diverse team members using visualization applications has enabled significant improvements in clinical processes, she said.
The use of the data warehouse and improved analytical processes has strong support from clinicians and research specialists, who lauded the approach’s ability to conduct research.
“It’s great to be in a meeting to slice and dice the data,” said Terri Brown, research specialist and assistant director of data support at Texas Children’s Hospital. “When it used to take three months to get a report, now within 30 minutes you have such a great understanding of the data. It takes away the false leads. It tells you what the source of truth is for how we have changed care delivery. It has been revolutionary.”
Texas Children’s Hospital and its use of information technology in researching care delivery is the latest case study in a series by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME).
The study, entitled “Teams and Tools Unlock Millions in Savings at Texas Children’s,” examines how the warehouse, specialized analytic applications and cross-functional teams have enabled a more effective approach to research on care delivery.
Texas Children’s implemented its EHR system in 2008, but Davis notes that it was only “the beginning of the journey.”
The organization realized it needed something beyond the records system if it was going to succeed the data to achieve quality improvements, said Charles Macias, MD, MPH, an associate professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and director of both the Center for Clinical Effectiveness and the Evidence-Based Outcomes Center at Baylor/Texas Children’s.
In addition to moving to an enterprise-wide data warehouse developed by Health Catalyst, Texas Children’s also began to use the vendor’s analysis tools, which enable teams of people to work together and rapidly visualize results. This was much quicker and effective than using the previous system of report requests, which were fulfilled by the IT department over longer time frames.
The teams combine representatives from a variety of disciplines, providing a better basis for achieving improvements in outcomes, Macias said. Groups began working on various chronic conditions, starting with asthma. The organization estimates that it has achieved about $4.5 million of direct benefits from only four of its EDW projects.
These early successes in the hospital-based program have Texas Children’s thinking about expanding its focus. It is taking steps to expand the initiative beyond hospital-based care to include its primary pediatric practices and clinic-based care. In addition, the organization hopes to use executive dashboards to take advantage of the EDW’s ability to pull together information from organizational information systems that had operated separately.
Teams and Tools Unlock Millions in Savings at Texas Children’s is the seventh in a series of case studies by CHIME, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based professional organization, which highlights the benefits and best practices of successful implementations of information technology.
To access the full case study, visit: http://www.cio-chime.org/chime/press/CaseStudy/Texas_Childrens_Case_Study.pdf