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Houston, TX, United States

Vallejo B.C.,St Lukes Episcopal Health System
Hospital topics | Year: 2012

Improving healthcare in the 21st century will depend on how well vast amounts of data are mined. However, converting data contained in multiple hospital and clinical databases into information that can be used for clinical decision support is a complex task. The process involves a combination of cultural and technological steps that are time-consuming and resource-intensive. The authors describe one hospital's long journey toward becoming a data-driven organization. Source

Sittig D.F.,University of Houston | Gonzalez D.,St Lukes Episcopal Health System | Singh H.,Baylor College of Medicine
International Journal of Medical Informatics | Year: 2014

Background: Reliable health information technology (HIT) in general, and electronic health record systems (EHRs) in particular are essential to a high-performing healthcare system. When the availability of EHRs are disrupted, alternative methods must be used to maintain the continuity of healthcare. Methods: We developed a survey to assess institutional practices to handle situations when EHRs were unavailable for use (downtime preparedness). We used literature reviews and expert opinion to develop items that assessed the implementation of potentially useful practices. We administered the survey to U.S.-based healthcare institutions that were members of a professional organization that focused on collaboration and sharing of HIT-related best practices among its members. All members were large integrated health systems. Results: We received responses from 50 of the 59 (84%) member institutions. Nearly all (96%) institutions reported at least one unplanned downtime (of any length) in the last 3 years and 70% had at least one unplanned downtime greater than 8. h in the last 3 years. Three institutions reported that one or more patients were injured as a result of either a planned or unplanned downtime. The majority of institutions (70-85%) had implemented a portion of the useful practices we identified, but very few practices were followed by all organizations. Conclusions: Unexpected downtimes related to EHRs appear to be fairly common among institutions in our survey. Most institutions had only partially implemented comprehensive contingency plans to maintain safe and effective healthcare during unexpected EHRs downtimes. © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Source

Singh J.A.,University of Alabama at Birmingham | Singh J.A.,The Surgical Center | Singh J.A.,Mayo Medical School | Luo R.,University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Rheumatology | Year: 2014

Objective. To assess the reliability and clinically meaningful thresholds of intermittent and constant osteoarthritis pain (ICOAP) score, the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score Physical function Short-form (KOOS-PS), the Hip disability and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score Physical function Short-form (HOOS-PS), and the Quality of life subscales of HOOS/KOOS (HOOS-QOL/KOOS-QOL) in patients with knee or hip arthritis. Methods. One hundred and ninety-five patients (141 knee, 54 hip) seen at 2 orthopedic outpatient clinics with a diagnosis of knee or hip OA completed patient-reported questionnaires (ICOAP pain scale, KOOS-PS, HOOS-PS, KOOS-QOL, HOOS-QOL) at baseline and 2-week followup. Reliability was assessed using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC). We calculated minimum clinically important difference (MCID) and moderate improvement in the subgroup that reported change in the status of their affected joint. Results. The reliability as assessed by ICC was as follows: ICOAP pain scale, 0.63 (0.48, 0.74) in patients with knee arthritis, and 0.86 (0.73, 0.93) for hip arthritis; KOOS-PS, 0.66 (0.52, 0.77); HOOS-PS, 0.82 (0.66, 0.91); KOOS-QOL, 0.79 (0.69, 0.86); and HOOS-QOL, 0.67 (0.42, 0.83). MCID and moderate improvement estimates in patients with knee arthritis were ICOAP pain scale, 18.5 and 26.7; KOOS-PS, 2.2 and 15.0; and KOOS-QOL, 8.0 and 15.6. A smaller sample in patients with hip arthritis precluded MCID and moderate improvement estimates. Conclusion. We found that ICOAP pain and KOOS-PS/HOOS-PS scales were reasonably reliable in patients with hip OA. Reliability of these scales was much lower in patients with knee arthritis. Thresholds for clinically meaningful change in pain or function on these scales were estimated for patients with knee arthritis. The Journal of Rheumatology Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. Source

Hysong S.J.,Baylor College of Medicine | Sawhney M.K.,Baylor College of Medicine | Wilson L.,Baylor College of Medicine | Sittig D.F.,University of Houston | And 3 more authors.
BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making | Year: 2011

Background: Notifying clinicians about abnormal test results through electronic health record (EHR) -based "alert" notifications may not always lead to timely follow-up of patients. We sought to understand barriers, facilitators, and potential interventions for safe and effective management of abnormal test result delivery via electronic alerts. Methods. We conducted a qualitative study consisting of six 6-8 member focus groups (N = 44) at two large, geographically dispersed Veterans Affairs facilities. Participants included full-time primary care providers, and personnel representing diagnostic services (radiology, laboratory) and information technology. We asked participants to discuss barriers, facilitators, and suggestions for improving timely management and follow-up of abnormal test result notifications and encouraged them to consider technological issues, as well as broader, human-factor-related aspects of EHR use such as organizational, personnel, and workflow. Results: Providers reported receiving a large number of alerts containing information unrelated to abnormal test results, many of which were believed to be unnecessary. Some providers also reported lacking proficiency in use of certain EHR features that would enable them to manage alerts more efficiently. Suggestions for improvement included improving display and tracking processes for critical alerts in the EHR, redesigning clinical workflow, and streamlining policies and procedures related to test result notification. Conclusion: Providers perceive several challenges for fail-safe electronic communication and tracking of abnormal test results. A multi-dimensional approach that addresses technology as well as the many non-technological factors we elicited is essential to design interventions to reduce missed test results in EHRs. © 2011 Hysong et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Hysong S.J.,Baylor College of Medicine | Esquivel A.,St Lukes Episcopal Health System | Sittig D.F.,University of Houston | Paul L.A.,University of Texas at Austin | And 3 more authors.
Implementation Science | Year: 2011

Background: Successful subspecialty referrals require considerable coordination and interactive communication among the primary care provider (PCP), the subspecialist, and the patient, which may be challenging in the outpatient setting. Even when referrals are facilitated by electronic health records (EHRs) (i.e., e-referrals), lapses in patient follow-up might occur. Although compelling reasons exist why referral coordination should be improved, little is known about which elements of the complex referral coordination process should be targeted for improvement. Using Okhuysen andamp; Bechky's coordination framework, this paper aims to understand the barriers, facilitators, and suggestions for improving communication and coordination of EHR-based referrals in an integrated healthcare system.Methods: We conducted a qualitative study to understand coordination breakdowns related to e-referrals in an integrated healthcare system and examined work-system factors that affect the timely receipt of subspecialty care. We conducted interviews with seven subject matter experts and six focus groups with a total of 30 PCPs and subspecialists at two tertiary care Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers. Using techniques from grounded theory and content analysis, we identified organizational themes that affected the referral process.Results: Four themes emerged: lack of an institutional referral policy, lack of standardization in certain referral procedures, ambiguity in roles and responsibilities, and inadequate resources to adapt and respond to referral requests effectively. Marked differences in PCPs' and subspecialists' communication styles and individual mental models of the referral processes likely precluded the development of a shared mental model to facilitate coordination and successful referral completion. Notably, very few barriers related to the EHR were reported.Conclusions: Despite facilitating information transfer between PCPs and subspecialists, e-referrals remain prone to coordination breakdowns. Clear referral policies, well-defined roles and responsibilities for key personnel, standardized procedures and communication protocols, and adequate human resources must be in place before implementing an EHR to facilitate referrals. andcopy; 2011 Hysong et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

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