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PA Hospital Wins HIMSS Davies Award for Patient Safety, Analytics

By Jennifer Bresnick

Significant improvements in patient safety, population health management, and efficiency in the emergency department have netted a HIMSS Davies Enterprise Award of Excellence for St. Clair Hospital in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania.  The 328-bed acute care facility has drastically cut medication errors, improved vaccination rates, reduced hospital-acquired infections, and increased patient satisfaction scores thanks to a sophisticated suite of health IT tools.

“St. Clair Hospital’s team of clinicians and IT professionals has done a tremendous job of leveraging information technology to integrate efforts to improve quality and the financial bottom line at the same time,” says Jonathan French, director of quality and patient safety, HIMSS North America. “St. Clair has significantly reduced hospital acquired infections and medication errors through the innovative use of IT.”

“As a hospital that serves a large Medicare population, improved clinical outcomes have resulted in revenue capture and costs savings critical for the organization’s financial health,” French added. “The Davies Committee and HIMSS congratulate the St. Clair Hospital team for its focus on improving the health outcomes of their patient population through the effective use of health IT.”

After reducing wait room times in the emergency department from 49 minutes to just four minutes, and physician wait time from 76 minutes to 28 minutes, St. Clair’s patient satisfaction scores skyrocketed from the 14th percentile to the 99th.  Data analytics that monitored patient flow through the emergency department, combined with an increased reliance on computerized provider order entry (CPOE) and an electronic bed management system contributed to the results in the ED.

Other accomplishments centered on patient safety, including vaccinating 100% of at-risk patients against pneumonia and implementing a scanning system that provided real-time charting of medication administration, an improvement that helps the hospital avoid around 11000 errors per year since 2004.  St. Clair’s has also cut hospital acquired infections from C. difficile by 50% through an automatic ordering system that added helpful probiotics to the prescription of antibiotics.

The hospital has also improved its revenue cycle management by making better use of an integrated EHR suite, patient accounting software, and improved scheduling.  Reduced denials, fewer underpayments, and increased collections have contributed to the facility’s financial health.

“We’ve had a long-term concentrated focus to better serve our patients through the use of systems and technology that enable us to deliver safer, higher quality care,” said Vice President and Chief Information Officer Richard J. Schaeffer.  “We are honored to receive the Davies Award, because it reinforces our strategy of investing in technology that can be embraced with an organizational mindset that the system will be improved on a continuous basis.  As the system becomes more innovative and predictive, it empowers our caregivers to deliver better outcomes to benefit our patients.”

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