Texas Children’s Hospital receives Healthcare Informatics Magazine’s 2015 Innovator Award

Texas Children’s Hospital has earned second place in Healthcare Informatics Magazine’s fourteenth annual Innovator Awards. The award was given to Texas Children’s for its quality improvement work to identify, deploy and measure new best practices and improve outcomes for children with appendicitis.

The award recognizes Texas Children’s unique “clinical systems integration” for utilizing the best science, leveraging data to understand the hospital’s performance, and acting to improve quality, outcomes, and efficiency. Texas Children’s was among more than several nominees voted on by the magazine’s readers.

“This program isn’t about big data,” said Kathleen Carberry, and Texas Children’s Outcomes and Impact Services director. “This is a tool we needed to deliver the best possible care in the most financially responsible way.”

Texas Children’s unique “three-system” approach to quality improvement harnesses analytics, deployment (implementation) and content (best science) to help establish a culture of data-driven improvement within the hospital.

By creating standardized processes that follow evidence-based guidelines – and ensuring the adoption of these protocols across the enterprise – the hospital has realized positive year-over-year outcomes such as reducing postoperative appendectomy length of stay by 36 percent, reducing average variable direct costs by 19 percent, increasing EHR order set adoption rates by 36 percent, increasing the percentage of patients receiving recommended antibiotic as first antibiotic by 53 percent and decreasing the time from diagnosis to surgery by 19 percent.

“In the Department of Surgery,” said pediatric surgeon Dr. Monica Lopez, “there had been very strong efforts going back to 2003, related to clinical research, really, that was definitely hypothesis testing, but on a very small scale, in terms of a core team of people who systematically looked at appendectomies and other types of pediatric surgeries. So we already had a team formed that was interested in this. But more recently, since we joined hands with Dr. Macias’s group and the outcomes and impact service, we’ve made great progress uniting the clinical research and real-time outcomes reporting, and using all those data to really guide any decision-making.”

Texas Children’s has utilized this strategy to include improving care for children with asthma, diabetes, pneumonia, scoliosis, and cleft lip and palate, along with pregnancy and diseases in newborns. Furthermore, these processes could be implemented by any hospital in the United States to drive care improvements in virtually any disease or treatment category.

“We felt there was an urgent need in the health care industry to accelerate the identification and deployment of shared guidelines of care,” said Dr. Charles Macias, Texas Children’s Chief Clinical Systems Integration Officer and Evidence Based Outcomes Center director. “With the spotlight that Healthcare Informatics Magazine’s Innovator Award is shining on us, we hope that our process can serve as a model for hospitals across the country.”

The award will be presented at the Healthcare Informatics and Institute for Health Technology Transformation conference or HIMSS15, on Monday, April 13 in Chicago. Macias will also be presenting “Managing Population Health with Science, Analytics and Quality Improvement” at the same conference on Monday, April 13, Session 13, Room S105.