VCU Health System was named a 2018 HIMSS Davies Enterprise Award recipient for leveraging the value of health information and technology to improve outcomes, as evidenced in three use case submissions below. The three use cases cover Enhanced Recovery after Surgery (ERAS) protocol that improved colorectal surgery outcomes, new tools in the EHR which streamlined the patient discharge process, and automated documentation tools that reduced catheter-associated urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Following evidence-based best practices, VCU Health used technology to transform the care of patients undergoing colorectal surgery, leveraging technology to improve patient and business outcomes without changing any surgical techniques. By standardizing the order sets and approach of the surgeons, surgical site infections and the patient’s average length of stay decreased. Patients could go home three days earlier in FY18 compared to FY16, when enhanced recovery after surgery efforts reduced the average length of stay from 9.0 to 5.32 days. VCU Health also decreased the average direct cost of colorectal surgeries for the institution.
VCU Health identified a need to improve staff communication regarding anticipated patient discharges. When Richmond’s only Level I trauma center and only academic medical center was regularly at capacity, planning for discharges became increasingly important. Using technology to improve communication, VCU Health steadily increased discharges by noon, making room for 1,500 new admissions annually. By anticipating discharge dates more precisely, VCU Health was able to increase compliance with Medicare discharge standards to over 90 percent and sustained that compliance level over several months.
VCU Health used technology to increase awareness and change the process of how urinary catheters are used to lower the risk of catheter-associated UTIs. Over two years, changes in how providers were required to document catheter use in the EMR and automate the order to remove indwelling catheters lowered the health system’s UTI rate by 57 percent. Process changes supported by technology also reduced “catheter days” (days patients spent with indwelling urinary catheters) by 5,160 days over two years, and reduced inpatient days due to UTIs by 218.