Rush University Medical Center was named a 2018 HIMSS Davies Enterprise Award recipient for leveraging the value of health information and technology to improve outcomes. The three award-winning case studies cover their work to reduce C. difficile infections (C. diff), improve post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for veterans, and addressing the opioid epidemic by reducing substance abuse with the support of customized workflows in the electronic medical record (EMR).
When Rush leaders realized in 2016 that the medical center’s reported incidence of hospital-onset C. diff. infections was higher than national benchmarks, they set the aggressive benchmark goals of quickly being measured in the median range of peer hospitals and eventually performing in the top decile. A team of clinical and technology leaders first worked to identify which patients had contagious infections by building best practice advisories (BPAs) into the EHR to help nurses identify C. diff. symptoms earlier, and then streamlined workflows so nurses and environmental services staff could enact infection-control protocols more quickly.
While nearly one-fourth of U.S. veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD, research suggests that less than 20% of veterans who actually start evidence-based PTSD treatment receive adequate doses of therapy. The Road Home Program at Rush, which provides veterans and their families advanced mental health services not always available through the VA, treats the more severe PTSD cases with intensive outpatient treatment proven to markedly reduce PTSD symptoms within three weeks.
To address City of Chicago’s rates of opioid use disorder and opioid related deaths that far surpassed national averages, Rush implemented a program that combines universal screening, innovative teams and customized workflows within the EMR. As part of the Substance Abuse Intervention Team (SUIT) approach, all Rush inpatients are now answering two simple questions about alcohol and drug usage that has helped identify several hundred patients who are likely to be at risk for substance abuse. The new workflows automate a series of interventions among several specialties, providing the direction and data these specialists need to provide these patients the help they need.