Children’s Health, a pediatric health care provider in north Texas, is always deploying new technologies to support high-quality and efficient patient care. But officials for the three-hospital system don’t neglect what they're already using.
Years after its launch of a $65 million electronic health record system, the IT staff recently worked with clinicians to review the workflows for every single module. The effort — called Project MORE — identified more than $1.2 million in new efficiencies while making life easier for the clinicians who use the system.
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“Project MORE’s success was due to an aggregation of smaller initiatives and not any one major change,” says Pamela Arora, senior vice president and chief information officer. “But don’t underestimate the power of small changes.”
Children’s Health includes Children’s Medical Center Dallas, Children’s Medical Center Plano, Our Children’s House specialty hospital, 20 pediatric primary care practices, nine rehabilitation facilities and more. The organization has achieved Most Wired status in nine of the past 11 years.
A new initiative: Children’s Health recently launched a remote monitoring program for patients who have received liver or kidney transplants. Using a tablet, a child’s family member connects with clinicians every day, reporting blood sugar levels, weight and other factors that require close monitoring after a transplant patient is discharged.
“This allows the physicians and the care team to help the patient manage his or her condition and outline the day’s therapy activities through the use of video messaging,” Arora says.
Meanwhile, Children’s Health sends telemedicine carts to schools to give students access to physician care via two-way video connection. Parents sign a consent for treatment when the child enrolls in school; when a school nurse recognizes that a child needs to see a physician, the nurse arranges the virtual visit. An after-visit summary with diagnosis and treatment plan is sent to the child’s parents, and prescriptions, if needed, are sent electronically to the pharmacy on record as the parent’s choice.
The program will expand from 57 schools to 93 schools — both urban and rural — next year, says Tamara Perry, director of telehealth operations.
“We want to keep the child in school for instruction,” she says, “and we want to reduce the high number of kids that come into the ER with nonemergent issues.”