For Phoenix Children’s Hospital, success was just the beginning

David Lareau is CEO of Medicomp Systems

Success: the accomplishment of an aim or purpose

Over the years, I have seen many successful health IT implementations. With hard work – and sometimes a bit of luck – an organization can successfully automate various processes, achieve greater efficiencies, reduce costs and increase end-user satisfaction.

Sometimes an organization may get particularly “lucky” and have visionaries driving their projects; that is, individuals who aren’t afraid to push the envelope and seek outcomes that exceed original goals. While implementing Quippe to enhance their clinical documentation process, Phoenix Children’s Hospital got really lucky, thanks to the dedicated clinical and IT professionals that had the vision and willingness to stretch the boundaries of technology, not only to improve documentation, but also to enhance patient outcomes.

When I first met Phoenix Children’s vice president and CMIO, Dr. Vinay Vaidya, at the 2014 HIMSS conference, the hospital was in the process of rolling out electronic medical records across its ambulatory health clinics. After multiple discussions, Vaidya and his team decided to implement Quippe to streamline the documentation process and facilitate the creation of specialty and disease-specific templates that support improvement of clinical outcomes.

Many of the children seen by Phoenix Children’s physicians have highly complex, chronic conditions. The medical staff wanted to easily document the on-going progression of chronic diseases like juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), which is a complex autoinflammatory disease. To thoroughly document a visit with a patient who has JIA, a pediatric rheumatologist must capture details on 71 individual joints, as well as note other measures. Having more complete documentation ultimately helps providers assess disease progression and identify gaps in care.

As we began working with Phoenix Children’s to address their documentation needs and customize templates for JIA and other conditions, we quickly realized something special about the Phoenix Children’s team. Health IT implementations always require coordination between the IT team and clinicians. However, the collaboration at Phoenix Children’s was exceptional, as was the communication across the organization and the commitment to optimize the use of technology.

Perhaps most importantly, members of the IT team demonstrated a desire to truly understand what clinicians needed to achieve better patient outcomes. They were able to create customized clinical workflows that supported the physicians’ thought processes.

The clinicians and IT team could have congratulated themselves on a job well done if they had done nothing more than create excellent templates and streamlined the documentation process. Since implementing Quippe, Phoenix Children’s has achieved some impressive results, including the virtual elimination of transcription in its outpatient clinics, saving the organization $1 million a year. On top of that, physicians increased their productivity 30 percent within three weeks of going live, and, are now completing 85 percent of all documentation by 5:00 p.m. on the date of service.

However, the successful implementation of Quippe was not enough for the visionary Dr. Vaidya and his team, who never stopped asking, “how can we make this better?” The clinicians and IT staff considered various ways to extend the value of the clinical data and use it to improve patient care.

Because Quippe uses data in a structured format, clinical data can be easily uploaded into a BI and analytics platform. After implementing Quippe, the physicians and IT staff collaborated to design disease-based dashboards populated with critical data from the warehouse, including patient outcomes and quality measurements over time. Today, clinicians have point-of-care access to these dashboards, which help them to better monitor patients with chronic diseases, improve clinical decision making, and enhance patient care and outcomes.

Vaidya will tell you that there’s still plenty more work to do, including creating more disease-specific templates and dashboards, and tweaking existing templates and workflows to improve clinical workflows and capture additional quality measures. I suppose when you are a visionary, achieving one’s original goals doesn’t signify it’s time to rest on your laurels. Instead, as he and his team continue to demonstrate, visionaries are always looking past today’s successes and continually asking, “how can we make this better?”