NorthShore University HealthSystem, an integrated healthcare delivery system serving patients throughout the Chicago metropolitan area, has revalidated its hospitals and associated clinics to HIMSS Analytics’ Stage 7 Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model.

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

NorthShore achieved Stage 7 for its hospitals in 2009 and for its clinics in 2013. The health system earned the EMRAM Stage 7 revalidation in recognition of its advanced EHR capabilities for managing patients using real-time, actionable data analytics.

A four-hospital system based in Chicago’s north suburbs, NorthShore was one of the first healthcare organizations in the country to successfully implement an EHR from Epic Systems in 2003. The use of the records system has become critical for population health management, hospital executives say.

“Specifically, since our initial validation, we’ve advanced in our analytics, predictive modeling and our use of tools in the EHR to really improve things like population health,” says Mimi Broeker, senior vice president of health information technology at NorthShore University HealthSystem.

By leveraging a custom dashboard within the EHR, NorthShore clinicians are able to monitor 16 evidence-based quality measures for preventive care and chronic conditions, enabling them to quickly evaluate individual patients with care gaps including missed follow-up appointments for cardiovascular management, diabetes exams, as well as preventative services such as screenings and immunizations.

The dashboard puts information at clinicians’ fingertips, adds Broeker, standardizing best practices, reducing costs, and improving overall quality of care. “The analytics tools aggregate the data for physicians” so that patients who may be at high risk for readmission are flagged prior to discharge from the hospital and referred to the appropriate provider for follow up in the physician office, she adds.

Also See: NorthShore deploys new data visualization tool to improve workflow

“We have a toolbox of analytics that we use—some of it is from Epic, some of it is homegrown,” according to Broeker. “We also have a very, robust clinical analytics team—along with a custom data warehouse that we built and we’ve had operational for probably 10 years now. There’s a huge amount of data that is available to turn it into knowledge for our physicians to provide the best care.”

As the healthcare industry moves from fee-for-service to value-base care, Broeker believes that NorthShore is well positioned to take advantage of its data in real time by identifying actionable insights and opportunities for achieving better health outcomes for patients.

Also See: NorthShore IT efforts pay off in patient engagement

“NorthShore University HealthSystem’s use of analytics exceeds expectations by not only using the data to improve clinical care and operational efficiency, but to also learn how to improve the workflow of the physician, saving time and improving documentation,” said Philip Bradley, regional director for HIMSS Analytics North America.

Future capabilities that NorthShore is exploring include video consultations and telemedicine for various use cases such as stroke, according to Broeker, as well as continued device integration at the patient bedside. “We’re doing it in such a way that it useful for our clinicians to be able to engage patients,” she concludes.

NorthShore will be recognized next month at the HIMSS Annual Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, Fla.

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