Mak­ing the qual­ity con­nec­tion

Modern Healthcare - - INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY -

From the be­gin­ning, the fed­eral govern­ment sought to lever­age the mean­ing­ful-use re­quire­ments in the elec­tronic health-record in­cen­tive pay­ment pro­gram to get providers to think about what the sys­tems might do be­sides tak­ing, stor­ing and re­gur­gi­tat­ing pa­tient records.

Dr. Arun Mathews and his col­leagues at the 306-bed Med­i­cal Cen­ter Health Sys­tem in Odessa, Texas, got the drift. They used Stage 1 mean­ing­ful use as a cat­a­lyst not only to in­stall com­put­er­ized physi­cian or­der en­try, but also to do it in a way that an­a­lyzed physi­cian us­age of the or­der sets avail­able through the CPOE sys­tem. Re­ports based on that anal­y­sis were used as part of a pro­gram of out­reach to physi­cians. The idea was to en­gage them in more fully us­ing CPOE and tak­ing a more ac­tive part in clin­i­cal qual­ity im­prove­ment ef­forts. Mathews, a 2013 win­ner of an AMDIS Award from the As­so­ci­a­tion of Med­i­cal Di­rec­tors of In­for­ma­tion Sys­tems and the hos­pi­tal’s CMIO, used an­a­lyt­ics to mea­sure or­der set us­age, as­sess­ing physi­cian or­der­ing pat­terns and ar­eas of weak­ness. But it wasn’t all data. Peo­ple power was key to the pro­gram, too. Mathews’ out­reach pro­gram in­cluded a struc­tured dis­cus­sion process led by “physi­cian en­gage­ment spe­cial­ists” who had good peo­ple skills to go along with their clin­i­cal and tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise.

Mathews, 36, an in­ternist who did a fel­low­ship in in­for­mat­ics at Johns Hop­kins, came to Odessa in 2010 just as the hos­pi­tal be­gan work on im­ple­ment­ing an EHR.

“The CEO found out that I had this in­for­mat­ics back­ground,” Mathews says. “He worked with the CIO and said they’d like a physi­cian work­ing through­out this process. ‘We’d like to make you CMIO.’ We went live with our CPOE jour­ney in June 2012 and made our M/U tar­gets a cou­ple of months later.”


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