Lahey Health, a multi-hospital, integrated delivery network serving northeastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, has achieved Stage 7 on HIMSS Analytics’ Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model for both acute and ambulatory care settings.

Stage 7 represents the highest level of HIMSS Analytics’ EMRAM, a methodology for evaluating the progress and impact of electronic health record systems at hospitals, which includes eight stages (ranging from 0 to 7) that measure a hospital’s implementation and utilization of IT to optimize healthcare and the treatment patients receive.

The Stage 7 designation extends to Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitals, primary care physician practices, as well as multiple outpatient and satellite specialty care facilities—all of which have implemented an Epic EHR system. After Winchester Hospital concludes its implementation of the system, Lahey Health will complete its work to install a total enterprise-wide installation on Epic.

“Reaching Stage 7 in any setting is a monumental achievement, but reaching Stage 7 across the care continuum that’s using Epic is just an unbelievable testament to how well the organization has adopted and delivered care with a single electronic health record,” says David Reis, senior vice president and chief information officer at Lahey Health.

Reis contends that Lahey is one of fewer than 40 hospitals in the U.S. and the only health system in Massachusetts to achieve Stage 7 for both acute and ambulatory care.

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“With Lahey Health’s thorough deployment of electronic medical records, they have developed a comprehensive care environment. Their uniformity of system use is a testament to their enterprise commitment to using their EMR to drive improvements in care quality and efficiency, equally on the inpatient and outpatient basis,” said John Hoyt, Stage 7 lead at HIMSS Analytics. “The clinical leadership at Lahey has begun to use EMR tools to tackle the opiate epidemic, which is a model for many other enterprises to follow.”

According to HIMSS Analytics, Lahey has leveraged its Epic system to improve opioid prescribing practices and the identification and management of opiate-dependent patients by—among other activities—implementing documentation tools and workflows for opiate therapy consent and contracts, enhancing patient education and outreach processes, and building reports to identify chronic opiate therapy patients. Overall, opioid prescriptions have been reduced by 19 percent.

Reis also credits the EHR with “driving down” central line infections at Lahey. “We have gone multiple years without a documented central line infection, and that’s because we were able to change the protocols that were used during the ordering process,” he adds. “What’s been really effective is using evidence-based medicine and building that into the order sets and the workflows.”

In addition, Reis notes that, thanks to Epic-to-Epic interoperability, Lahey has been able to exchange more than 1 million patient records with other healthcare systems using Epic across all 50 states.

“This isn’t the end; this is just the beginning,” concludes Reis. The EHR “allows us to continue to drive care models and enhance the way we do population health management—using Epic to come up with treatment plans and interventions.”

Lahey Health will be recognized at the 2018 HIMSS Conference & Exhibition on March 5 to 9, 2018, in Las Vegas.

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