2017 HIMSS Enterprise Davies Award recipient Memorial Hermann, a Texas-based health system, has exemplified the successful use of health IT systems to substantially improve patient outcomes by implementing and monitoring IT interventions to ensure that all its patients receive safe, high-quality care, according to HIMSS officials.

Over the years, Memorial Hermann has rolled out several key initiatives that rely on data and IT interventions to create a high-reliability culture at the bedside. For example, computer decision support (CDS) alerts were implemented to identify “good catches” and change the course of therapy for patients. After all, the amount of data housed within the electronic health record for a single patient can be challenging for physicians to process and make the appropriate clinical decisions.

With appropriate implementation, CDS alerts help overcome these challenges to patient care and alert physicians of potential adverse events. First implemented in the pharmacy department, the alerts now function across Memorial Hermann, which is among the largest health systems in Texas.

The Davies Awards program promotes health information technology-enabled improvement in patient outcomes through sharing case studies and lessons learned on implementation strategies, workflow design, best practice adherence, and patient engagement.

“Several years ago, we embarked on a journey to become a high-reliability organization committed to providing patients with the utmost in safe, high-quality patient care,” said Chuck Stokes, president and CEO of Memorial Hermann Health System. “Our information systems division has been key to that effort, embracing innovative health IT systems and interventions that have allowed us to establish an industry-leading care delivery model ensuring that every patient who comes through our doors receives safe, timely, accurate and effective treatment and procedures.”

Specifically, Memorial Hermann is using data to prevent ventilator-acquired pneumonia, or VAP, in patients. Studies have found that up to 20% of ventilated patients in hospitals across the United States develop VAP, and at least 20% of those cases may be preventable.

“Memorial Hermann…demonstrates how clinical decision support enables significant improvements in patient safety,” says Jonathan French, CPHIMS, senior director of quality and patient safety initiatives at HIMSS. “HIMSS is proud to recognize Memorial Hermann as a Davies Award recipient for improving the care outcomes and safety of their patients enabled through the innovative use of information and technology.”