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HIMSS Davies Awards 2018: Memorial Hermann Reduces Patient Falls to Lowest Rates in the U.S.

Elderly patient walking with male nurse

Geriatric patients face a higher risk of injuries and mortalities related to falling, which has been cited as a leading cause of injury – or death by injury – in adults over the age of 65 years. Memorial Hermann Health System recognized the seriousness of this issue and that it was necessary to utilize a plan of action to prevent growing incidences in the future.

The team at Memorial Hermann utilized the AGS Beers Criteria, an important resource for providers to address medication-related dangers that often lead to geriatric patient falls. To eliminate these preventable incidents, Memorial Hermann leveraged clinical decision support (CDS) interventions within their electronic health record (EHR) in efforts to improve patient outcomes.

Leveraging Clinical Decision Support Tools for Success

Memorial Hermann started the implementation process by using CDS oversight with the support of a Beers Criteria workgroup led by physicians, pharmacists, medical informatics professionals and an acute care medical informatics committee. Key decisions included targeting medications based on the Beers Criteria research and a phased approach for increased adoption.

Memorial Hermann used CDS in the form of order sentences and alerts to limit the ordering of these medications for the elderly patient population. The EHR’s ability to add filters for age and conditions, in addition to dose range checking alerts, improved the automation and reliability of the CDS alerts. Rules were incorporated to cross-reference the medication being placed to the tables and determine if a recommendation needed to be presented to the provider.

Because of these technologically enhanced processes, combined with the organization practice of conducting daily safety huddles and rounding, Memorial Hermann met all their goals and achieved one of the lowest patient fall injury rates in the U.S. in 2016.

HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence

The HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence recognizes outstanding achievement of organizations that have utilized health information technology to substantially improve patient outcomes and value. The HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence is the pinnacle of the HIMSS Value Recognition Program and highlights organizations promoting health information and technology-enabled improvements in patient and business outcomes through sharing evidence-driven best practices on implementation strategies, workflow design, change management and patient engagement.

“Memorial Hermann Health System significantly decreased the overall rate of unnecessary, high-risk medication orders, and are now leading the nation with the least amount of patient falls,” said Jonathan French, CPHIMS, senior director of quality and value-based care at HIMSS. “For their focus on improving outcomes, especially for elderly patients who are more at risk, HIMSS is proud to recognize Memorial Hermann as a 2018 Davies Enterprise Award winner.”

“We are proud to be the first organization to participate in back-to-back HIMSS Davies Enterprise Award submissions. Being recognized in both 2017 and 2018 with the HIMSS Davies Award is a great honor,” said Amanda Hammel, senior vice president and chief information officer for Memorial Hermann Health System. “This is a true testament to our investment in care delivery and healthcare information technology. We rely on the three elements of people, process, and technology to sustain our position as a leading high-reliability care organization, and the HIMSS Davies award process is a great tool to help us measure our success.”

Memorial Hermann Health System will be recognized during the 2019 HIMSS Global Conference & Exhibition, February 11-15 in Orlando, Florida.

Learn more about how Memorial Hermann has embraced the value of health information and technology: explore three award-winning use cases.