Success Stories in Healthcare: How Texas Children’s Hospital Won the 2013 Transformational Leadership Award

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Texas Childrens Hospital Success Stories AwardRecently, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and the American Hospital Association (AHA) recognized Texas Children Hospital and presented the 2013 Transformational Leadership Award to Senior Vice President/CIO of Information Services Myra Davis, M.E. and CEO Mark Wallace. This award honors an organization that has excelled in developing and deploying transformational information technology that improves the delivery of care and streamlines administrative services. Myra was recognized for Texas Children’s data-driven approach to improved care and reduced costs.

I am inspired and excited about these transformational changes because of stories like that of Jenny Jones. Several years ago, a patient of Texas Children’s Hospital, Jenny Jones, was a five-year-old girl with uncontrolled asthma. During a six-month period, Jenny had three emergency department visits to two different hospitals, along with a primary care physician visit.

Jenny’s six different asthma action plans from six different physicians played a direct role in her multiple visits and uncontrolled asthma. Myra and her leadership team knew poor patient experiences like Jenny’s represented a broken system – a system that lacked integration. The physicians Jenny had seen were good physicians, but none of them had a way of knowing or even easily viewing Jenny’s complete health record.

Jenny’s story is just one story that illustrates the challenges around data integration facing hospitals all over the nation—there are plenty more. During my time as an RN, I’ve seen patients who were working with excellent providers in high-quality facilities fail to receive the best possible care, simply due to a lack of infrastructure. When there is no quick and easy way to see a patient’s entire up-to-date health history, no way to analyze patient population trends, no way to finely target quality improvement projects, the overall quality, and value of care is compromised.

Texas Children’s Hospital and Health Catalyst partnered to make huge strides in solving this issue.

Texas Children’s Hospital Wins Transformational Leadership Award

Alarmed by stories like Jenny’s, Texas Children’s Hospital leadership responded in a big way and completely transformed the way their system used healthcare data.

The hospital began its implementation of an enterprise-wide electronic health record (EHR) in 2008. The EHR has proven tremendously valuable as the means of digitizing care across the hospital. But in reality, the newly digitized EHR data was hard to extract and combine with other data sources in a timely fashion.

After realizing that the EHR was not the silver bullet that had been expected, Davis, along with Senior Vice President of Quality Mary Jo Andre, and Director of Quality and Clinical Systems Integration Margaret Holm, Ph.D., began formulating the foundational framework for an organizational transformation. They took a bold, integrated approach to healthcare analytics, data management and quality improvement by adopting a healthcare data warehouse. They understood that technology alone wouldn’t enable them to improve the overall value of care; doing that would also require a fundamental culture change.

Beginning in September 2011, the hospital worked with Health Catalyst to implement a clinical, analytic, and process-based framework for value-based transformation. The framework is based on a three-system approach, incorporating the following elements:

  • Late-Binding Data Warehouse platform and advanced healthcare analytics, designed especially to handle the massive quantities of data in large healthcare organizations. The enterprise data warehouse (EDW) organizes the hospital’s data into a single source of truth that serves as a foundation for data-driven improvement. As Davis put it, “Transformational IT that improves care delivery and streamlines administrative services all starts with an enterprise data warehouse.” The data warehouse enabled Texas Children’s to eliminate the manual data gathering process and automate data distribution. Analysts could then devote their time to discovering patterns in the data that could be used to understand where changes needed to be made.
  • Permanent, integrated workgroup teams that identify areas for care improvement and build evidence-based practices into the care delivery workflow. Because the team owned improvement for one particular care family over the long-term, and was able to work with the EDW data in near real-time via easy-to-use dashboards, they were able to standardize excellence in their care delivery work processes.
  • Advanced healthcare analytics applications to prioritize, track and interpret iterative improvement, a critical component to establishing baseline and ensuring sustainable improvement results.

Multiple Analytic Success Stories in Healthcare: Texas Children’s Hospital

The end result of all these theories and concepts I’ve been discussing are real life, transformation success stories for Texas Children’s.

For example, in 2011, asthma accounted for 3,000 emergency department visits, and 800 hospital admissions at Texas Children’s. The leadership team knew there was waste in the system and opportunities for improvement abounded. After applying the three-system approach, Texas Children’s Hospital was able to decrease the average length of stay by 11 hours. And that was just the beginning.

Clinical results aren’t the only improvements the hospital made. The hospital closed the “report factory” in their IT department using the EDW to give providers and department managers direct access to visualizations and reports. In fact, on average, each EDW report costs 67 percent less to build than an EHR report.

Labor productivity and operational efficiency both greatly increased thanks to analytics and the EDW. Texas Children’s Hospital realized a savings of nearly half a million dollars over four years from automated data integration.

There are dozens of stories that I could share that all point to the savings associated with clinical data warehouses. You’ll find a few of them on the Success Stories tab.

I would like to again congratulate Texas Children’s Hospital on the Transformational Leadership Award. I am inspired by these quality and value improvements. It’s honor to be on the team.