July 15, 2019

Texas Children’s Hospital is seeking an innovative solution to at-home hospital care for patients who are discharged from the health care setting but are still healing. Instead of providing patients with a binder of instructions, Texas Children’s Cancer & Hematology Center is working with a group of college and graduate students to create an interactive video game that encourages positive health habits in the home. The effort is part of the Healthcare Games Showdown™, which is going on throughout July and is being hosted by the world-renowned Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute.

“Leveraging game design to encourage healthy behaviors in the home is a great way to engage children and promote positive health outcomes,” said Business Development & Innovation Manager for Women’s Services Haley Jackson. “We are excited to learn from this innovative project!”

Jackson, Quinn Franklin, Assistant Director of the Psychosocial Division of the Cancer and Hematology Centers; and Dr. Monica Gramatges, Co-Director of the Center’s Survivorship Program, are advising the TCH student team with the support of Senior Vice President Myra Davis, Chief Quality Officer Dr. Eric Williams, Vice President Jackie Ward and Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers Director, Dr. Susan Blaney.

The group is working with a team of four digital media and computer science students – Jacqueline Nguyen of the University of Texas Dallas, Carlos Puerta of the University of Houston, David Musick of the University of Houston and Jonathan Nelson of Huntington University – to develop a prototype for an augmented reality game that focuses on the importance of hand washing and oral hygiene.

The concept for the game revolves around an animated world that can be unlocked by patients, families and/or caregivers when they complete a handwashing or oral hygiene activity. Players will be sent alerts on their smart phone device when it’s time for an action to be completed. Each time the player completes a task, their animated universe becomes more complex and elaborate.

“Health care video gaming allows us to foster playfulness and learning through a medium that our patients are naturally drawn to,” Franklin said.

During the development period, patients will be viewing the game and providing feedback as it is created. Marty McMahon, our Texas Children’s Gaming Activity Coordinator funded through a collaboration with Child’s Play, is also supporting this effort as a technical mentor for the students.

A live-stream following the progress of all three teams participating in the Healthcare Gaming Showdown is being hosted weekly by comedian and voice-over actor, Scott Gibbs, together with Ink Rose and Kevin Wu. Click here to learn more about the games and how to tune in to the live-stream.

“At Texas Children’s Hospital, our mission is to create a healthier future for children,” Davis said. “Using augmented reality and video games is an excellent means with which to continue our mission.”

March 26, 2019

Myra Davis, senior vice president of Information Services at Texas Children’s Hospital, received the 2019 Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Year ORBIE Awards from the Houston CIO Leadership Association.

The CIO of the Year ORBIE Awards is the premier technology executive recognition program in the United States that is based upon a nominee’s leadership and management effectiveness, technology innovation, size and scope of responsibilities and engagement in industry and community endeavors.

“I am very grateful to receive this honor,” Davis said. “Information Technology, particularly in health care, has the opportunity to enhance, in many ways, how we deliver care to our patients and families. I love what my team and I are able to do and the boundless opportunities IT presents at Texas Children’s.”

Since joining Texas Children’s 15 years ago, Davis has helped Texas Children’s consistently stand out amongst our peers, and it is her visionary leadership and passion for the hospital’s mission that keep Texas Children’s on the leading edge of technology, and perpetually surfing the innovation curve.

While her leadership philosophy centers on cultivating strong partnerships that drive the successful delivery of improved quality, safety and patient outcomes at Texas Children’s, Davis enthusiastically credits her team of more than 400 employees for helping to lead the organization through some major technological transformations, including spearheading the recent integration of Texas Children’s Health Plan systems into the hospital’s electronic medical record.

Davis and her team have been instrumental in other systemwide initiatives including implementing new MyChart enhancements that have significantly improved patient experience and access to care; building the technology infrastructure to support daily operations at our new Texas Children’s Lester and Sue Legacy Tower; upgrading the patient transport system used to document incoming and outgoing transfers; and implementing a stringent cyber security protocol throughout Texas Children’s that employs a layered defense to prevent unauthorized access to organizational assets and patient information.

“Our IS department is truly the village that makes everything happen on a daily basis,” Davis said. “I am grateful to work with such a dedicated and talented team, and look forward to what we can accomplish together to better serve our patients and their families, and our employees and staff at Texas Children’s.”

Beyond her leadership responsibilities at Texas Children’s, Myra also devotes much of her free time serving the community. She has developed a collaboration between local universities (Rice, UT Austin and University of Houston) and Texas Children’s, where students are able see how technology is used in health care and explore the possibility of wanting to work in healthcare technology post-graduation.

In addition to the CIO of the Year ORBIE Award, Davis has been the recipient of the 2017 Houston Business Journal CIO of the Year in addition to Association for Women in Computing Award for Leadership in Technology that recognizes women who are making a difference in their professions, companies and communities through hard work and innovative leadership.

December 3, 2018

Texas Children’s has received the 2018 “Most Wired” designation for outstanding health care-based technology from Hospitals & Health Network Magazine – the flagship publication of the American Hospital Association.

The annual Most Wired survey polls hospitals and health systems nationwide regarding information technology (IT) initiatives in the areas of infrastructure, business and administrative management, clinical quality and safety, and clinical integration.

The 2018 survey of 647 participants represents 2,190 hospitals – almost 40 percent of all hospitals in the United States. Texas Children’s has earned Most Wired recognition in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

“Earning our fifth Most Wired designation reflects the hard work of the Information Services team and our many clinical and operational partners at Texas Children’s,” said Myra Davis, senior vice president of Information Services. “The survey results provide industry-standard benchmarks to measure IT adoption and meaningful use for operational, financial and clinical performance in health care delivery systems.”

Texas Children’s noted several IS achievements, including enhancements to patient safety, patient care and the patient experience. Notable accomplishments include:

Digitally tracking surgical instruments – Information Services helped to implement a digital tracking system for Texas Children’s operating rooms and Sterile Processing Department. Tracking surgical instruments digitally supports patient safety by preventing surgical delays, matching the patient with the correct instrument, prioritizing instruments for high risk cases and identifying obsolete instruments/sets. In addition, it supports continuity of communication (system-wide instrument pool), manages cost of lost instruments, tracks usage for additional sets for replacement or maintenance, enhances employee productivity and meets CMS/CDC/OSHA guidelines.

Improving access to care – Information Services improved the patient experience by removing a couple of issues that occasionally hindered access to care.

  • Patient scheduling process – IS partnered with clinicians, schedulers and the Epic & Revenue Cycle team to generate a questionnaire template to guide scheduling staff when making appointments. The result is a consistent process that improves the patient experience and promotes access to care.
  • How long will I wait? – IS updated the Texas Children’s Urgent Care (TCUC) website to display location wait times. Displaying wait times allows TCUC patients to make an informed decision and potentially save time, improving patient satisfaction. The patient retains some control over the waiting experience, giving them greater flexibility with their time.

Patient transport system intake and dispatch – Information Services upgraded the patient transport system used to document incoming and outgoing transfers. The upgrade optimized the use of tablets in the field, allowing EMS staff to collect data for reporting while providing patient care. In-house, the upgrade enabled Epic integration, supported Windows 10 deployment and brought Texas Children’s into compliance with industry reporting standards.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) – Information Services implemented a stringent security protocol throughout Texas Children’s that employs a layered defense to help prevent unauthorized access to organizational assets and patient information. Combining two or more independent credentials, MFA can help protect sensitive personal and health information. Data breaches can result in significant fines with regulators, impact our brand reputation and damage our patients’ trust.

“This designation shows the commitment of Texas Children’s leadership in partnership with Information Services to embrace our transformation as a digitally enabled organization,” said Texas Children’s Chief Medical Information Officer Dr. Carla Giannoni. “Medical care, like other industries, are in evolution in this age of information. The opportunities are endless. Especially exciting to me is that we are now positioned to capitalize on the potential for an integrated communications platform and to develop a data strategy that uses data analytics and machine learning to provide clinical decision support at the bedside.”

March 13, 2018

Recently, Texas Children’s executives and employees welcomed Judy Faulkner, CEO and founder of Epic Systems. Faulkner walked the group through a timeline of successes and innovations that have resulted from Texas Children’s 10-year partnership with Epic.

“We meet with our Epic partners on a very frequent basis,” said Julie McGuire, Director of Texas Children’s Enterprise Systems. “However, this is the first meeting with Judy onsite since the vendor demos more than 10 years ago, and it was an honor.”

Epic is essentially applications that support Texas Children’s comprehensive electronic health record system. Epic provides Texas Children’s with an integrated suite of clinical and financial applications, including billing, admissions, scheduling, patient charts and information, and order entry. It touches virtually every employee and, more importantly, every patient that passes through our system. Epic software is used in hospitals, homes and even hand-held devices.

Faulkner’s visit began with a brief overview of Texas Children’s history, presented by Executive Vice President Michelle Riley-Brown, who detailed the expansion of our global footprint and technology development over the years.

“Our goal is not to chase the quantity,” Riley-Brown said. “We chase the quality.”

Faulkner shared Epic’s vision, a current snapshot and plans for the future. Although personal development is always key, she emphasized that “it takes a village” when it’s comes to expanding technology as a whole.

“Keep in touch with other Epic users,” Faulkner said. “Share with others how you have expanded.”

Faulkner said she was impressed with how Texas Children’s has continued to evolve and respond to changing health care methods to meet the needs of patients.

“Texas Children’s Pediatrics was the first to use Epic strategies within the hospital, and we have been extremely successful thus far,” said Texas Children’s Pediatrics President Kay Tittle. “With the opening of multiple urgent cares and expanding to Austin, we are well on our way.”

During Faulkner’s visit, the Information Services team took her to the hospital’s nucleus – Mission Control.

Mission Control is equipped with state-of-the-art technology in a large, high-tech space on the third floor of Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. The suite houses representatives from Security, Facilities, Room Management, Transport Services and Critical Care.

When a patient is transferred to or from Texas Children’s Hospital, several wheels are set into motion at Mission Control to make the process run smoothly for our patients and their families. During the first month Mission Control was launched last year, the Transport Team reduced their time from dispatch to pick up by 20 minutes. When Faulkner asked about technology to improve remote patient monitoring in Mission Control, the team assured her it is on the horizon.

“We’re definitely on the path to advancing the way we monitor patients,” said Myra Davis, Senior Vice President of Information Services. “Ultimately, our plan is that Mission Control will have remote monitoring so we always have that extra set of trained eyes on our most critical patients”

Also on the horizon is an Epic upgrade, currently scheduled for summer 2019. Both Texas Children’s and Epic Systems continue to be focused on elevating how we use Epic technology, implementing new modules, maintaining a concise alignment with Epic guidelines, and ensuring we meet the system’s strategic priorities of access and care coordination.

“It’s been an incredible 10 years with Epic, and I know as we continue to grow as an organization, the need to become even better as we get bigger will be even more critical,” Davis said. “I’m excited about seeing how our efforts will flourish as a result of this partnership.”

November 29, 2017

Information Services, the Cancer and Hematology Centers and Pharmacy recently partnered to successfully launch Epic Beacon, a new medical oncology module that gives physicians and other providers a better tool with which they can create personalized treatment plans and support care regimens based on standardized protocols. The outcome of such treatment plans and support care is a more efficient and effective way to follow each patient through outpatient doctor’s visits and inpatient hospital stays, easing the patient’s transition to lifetime, post-cancer care.

“This initiative has changed how we deliver care to some of our sickest patients,” said Cancer Center Director Dr. David Poplack. “With Beacon, we are able to provide more tailored treatment, more efficiently and at a decreased risk to our patients who receive some of the strongest medications.”

During the 18-month implementation process, about 600 treatment protocols were made electronic via Epic Beacon, which is fully integrated with Epic’s pharmacy and electronic Medication Administration Records (MAR) products, allowing oncologists to better track medications that have been dispensed and administered, including medications ordered outside of an oncology treatment plan.

In addition, Beacon, which is being used system wide where oncology patients receive chemotherapy, features decision support that can suggest protocols as well as dose-specific medication modifications based on chart data. It also tailors plans at the patient level, so medication orders can be created and queued up in advance of patient visits for cancer treatment.

“Using Beacon has been a culture change for the Cancer Center but well worth it,” said Julie McGuire, director of Enterprise Systems for Information Services. “It has taken real dedication from all teams involved as well as a tremendous amount of physician and nurse engagement.”

Dr. ZoAnn Dreyer, an oncologist with the Cancer Center, said Epic Beacon’s buildout and go-live process was smooth and seamless.

“Even Epic’s own representative was impressed, saying it was the best he has ever seen,” Dryer said. “And it’s worked well in clinic so far for sure!”

Other first impressions of Epic Beacon have been positive as well:

“I’ve never seen a project with as much dedicated physician support and I think that was a HUGE part of this project’s success!”
Drew Willert, Information Services

“The success of the go-live and Beacon’s functionality is a direct result of a multidisciplinary team that demonstrated resilience, excellence and commitment to the overall success of the project.”
Denise Tanner-Brown, Cancer and Hematology Centers

“I am so proud of what WE have done. I am so humbled by all of the outpouring of support from operational, Epic and IS leaders, as well as end users on the front lines.”
Dr. Marla Daves, Cancer and Hematology Centers

October 31, 2017

The Texas Children’s Hospital Ukulele Choir cheered on our Houston Astros in the best way they know how, with the help of some very special patients!

Led by the Music Therapy Department and made up of Texas Children’s staff members, the choir led patients and staff from the Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit in a rousing rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in support of the Astros’ appearance at the championship game.

The patients played and sang along with the choir demonstrating not only their enthusiasm for the Astros, but also the great strides they have made in their recovery at Texas Children’s.

Established in 2014, Texas Children’s Ukulele Choir is rooted in self-care and respite for staff members who work hard and endure much for our patients and families. It provides an opportunity for members to create positive moments and relationships within their work environment and outside of their immediate department. Since the choir is led by the hospital’s music therapists, patients and staff benefit from this form of therapeutic intervention intended to bolster positive moods and mindsets.

Once a month, the Ukulele Choir performs on inpatient units, high traffic areas of the hospital, as well as staff meetings and events. The choir also provides live environmental music throughout the hospital. Since its inception three years ago, the choir has grown from three to more than 30 staff members representing different areas of the hospital including Information Services, Nursing, Pharmacy and Child Life.

July 18, 2017

Texas Children’s has received the 2017 “Most Wired” designation for outstanding health care-based technology from Hospitals & Health Network Magazine – the flagship publication of the American Hospital Association.

The annual Most Wired survey polls hospitals and health systems nationwide regarding information technology (IT) initiatives in the areas of infrastructure, business and administrative management, clinical quality and safety, and clinical integration.

The 2017 survey of 698 participants represents 2,158 hospitals – almost 40 percent of all hospitals in the United States. Texas Children’s has earned Most Wired recognition in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.

“Earning our fourth Most Wired designation reflects the hard work of the Information Services team and our many clinical and operational partners at Texas Children’s,” said Myra Davis, senior vice president of Information Services. “The survey results provide industry-standard benchmarks to measure IT adoption and meaningful use for operational, financial and clinical performance in health care delivery systems.”

Texas Children’s noted several IS achievements, including enhancements to patient safety, patient care and the patient experience. Notable accomplishments include:

Applying PPID safety standards to breast milk – IS partnered with Nursing, Pharmacy, Milk Bank, Dietary and Clinical Informatics & Training to extend PPID safety protocols to breast milk. Centers for Disease Control guidelines say feeding expressed breast milk to the wrong child should be treated as an accidental exposure to bodily fluids. The new PPID controls hold breast milk to the same safety standards as medications in order to reduce the possibility of an adverse event from a baby receiving expressed milk intended for another infant.

Automated patient meal ordering service – IS partnered with Morrison Healthcare to implement MyDining, an automated complex diet ordering interface within Epic. The system automates patient meal delivery to:

  • Enhance patient safety in acute care settings by ensuring the right patient gets the right meal at the right time, based on physician diet orders for considerations like allergies, restrictions and supplement requirements.
  • Boost patient satisfaction by tracking, reporting and improving the on-time meal delivery workflow.

The Nerve Center – IS partnered with Nursing, Physician and Transfer Center leadership to deliver technology to support the organization’s transfer of about 1300 patients a year in a way that demonstrates excellence and efficiency. The technology provides:

  • Decreased time for the transfer team out the door
  • Improved and clear documentation on patient transfers
  • Most up-to-date information needed to make the best decisions on patients coming or leaving Texas Children’s Community provider satisfaction

New app to improve patient experience – IS introduced a new “Bedside” inpatient portal at The Woodlands campus to provide medical information, entertainment options, communication benefits and instructional videos using tablet devices. The goal of MyChart Bedside is to empower patients/parents to:

  • Improve patient satisfaction
  • Enhance quality and safety of care
  • Increase MyChart usage
  • Better meet compliance objectives

“In health care today, implementation and adoption of health care technology is crucial in advancing outcomes and experiences,” said Julie McGuire, director of Enterprise Systems for Information Services. “The Most Wired designation shows that Texas Children’s is leading not only in our clinical care outcomes but in the use of technology that drives improved outcomes and advancements in care.”

The 2017 Most Wired Survey is published by Health & Hospitals Network. Most Wired results are available here.