Atlanta’s Grady Health System, one of the largest public health systems in the country, has reached Stage 7 of HIMSS Analytics’ Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model.

“We’ve been able to invest in the right technologies to improve patient care and safety,” says Ben McKeeby, senior vice president and chief information officer at Grady Health System, who adds that Grady is Georgia’s only adult acute care hospital to achieve the highest EMRAM level.

Also See: Children’s Healthcare reaches HIMSS Stage 7 of EMRAM

EMRAM is a methodology for evaluating the progress and impact of EHR systems at hospitals, which includes eight stages (0-7) that measure a hospital’s implementation and utilization of IT to optimize healthcare and the treatment patients receive.

At the core of Grady’s health IT capabilities is an Epic EHR system first implemented in 2010 as well as an enterprise resource planning system. “The effective combination of our people and technology has driven clinical quality and financial improvements throughout the organization,” observes McKeeby.

“We now have the data to provide actionable insights clinically and to better understand what’s going on in our business,” he adds, noting that Grady’s revenue cycle metrics “have all gone in the right direction.”

Grady is home to a Level I trauma center, burn center, and the Advanced Comprehensive Marcus Stroke & Neuroscience Center, as well as ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and infectious disease programs. When it comes to HIV, McKeeby credits the implementation of alerts for clinicians in the EHR and recommended ordering pathways for helping to screen patients and optimizing treatment. The result: a 96 percent reduction in transmission of HIV, when the patient is in treatment.

McKeeby also contends that medication errors have plummeted at Grady as a result of leveraging its EHR for a “Meds-to-Beds” program focused on reducing 30-day readmissions and improving patient care through safer prescribing practices.

“In this program, when a physician places a discharge order, the pharmacist receives an automatic alert to visit the patient,” said Philip Bradley North America regional director for healthcare advisory services and operations at HIMSS Analytics. “The pharmacist then ensures the patient (or family member) has the medications needed before discharge, and they understand the instructions. Of the patients entered into the program, Grady is seeing an increase in revenue and decrease in 30-day readmissions.”

Going forward, McKeeby says Grady is looking to roll out Epic’s Community Connect to extend its shared EHR to external partner organizations such as referring providers, as well as utilize the Epic Healthy Planet accountable care and population management system module.

Grady will be recognized next week at the HIMSS Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, Fla.

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