Rochester Regional Health uses EHR to slash bloodstream infection rate 65%

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Rochester Regional Health, an integrated healthcare delivery system serving Western New York and the Finger Lakes region, has reduced its central line-associated bloodstream infections rate by 65 percent over the last two years using its Epic electronic health record system.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 250,000 central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) events annually, which cost the healthcare industry more than $1 billion to treat. This severe form of blood infection can lead to death for patients.

However, by leveraging the full value of their EHR data and streamlining clinical workflows, Rochester Regional Health went from a rate of 1.0 per 1000 infections per 1,000 central line days in 2015 down to 0.35 infections per 1000 in 2017—with zero infections in July and August of this year.

Also See: Tool helps hospitals cut CLABSIs by 40 percent

It’s among the reasons the Rochester provider recently reached Stage 7 on HIMSS Analytics’ Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model, a prestigious designation earned by less than seven percent of acute care facilities across the country.

What more, Rochester Regional Health was formed in late 2014 through the merger of Rochester General Health System and Unity Health System.

“When we came together in 2014, Unity’s predominant platform was Cerner in the acute care space and Rochester General Health System had just recently gone to Epic as their platform,” says John Glynn, chief information officer and executive vice president at Rochester Regional Health. “Our goal was to create a single fully integrated healthcare delivery system. We chose Epic as the common platform and the achievement of Stage 7 as one of the ways that we would measure our success.”

Going from Cerner to Epic in some of its facilities was not easy, acknowledges Glynn. “We converted quite a bit of data,” he adds. “We had some benefit at Unity in that we had a multitude of disparate systems that we pulled together through a private HIE platform within the organization. I think that helped us with a lot of the data conversion that was necessary.”

Having successfully migrated to Epic, Glynn contends that Rochester Regional Health is now a data-driven organization that identifies problems such as CLABSI, creates solutions and then is able to measure the success of its care improvement initiatives.

According to Balazs Zsenits, MD, Rochester Regional Health’s chief medical information officer, by sharing best practices for central line management with its clinical staff, the healthcare system was able to improve the turnaround time of CLABSI data reporting as well as calculate and reconcile discrepancies more efficiently.

“This is about how we adopt a system and how we improve our care,” says Zsenits. “CLABSI was a multi-year effort in which we used the EHR and analytics to make sure that we could get the data we needed with much ease. The main role of the EHR in the CLABSI project was to make measurement easier and to make data available faster so nurses could focus on improving care.”

Critical to this effort is a workflow checklist that is followed for central line management, adds Zsenits. “You have to make sure you follow every step in the process and maintain these central lines safely.”

HIMSS Analytics will recognize Rochester Regional Health with the Stage 7 EMRAM at the 2018 HIMSS Conference & Exhibition, held March 5-9 in Las Vegas.

“Rochester Regional Health has accomplished an excellent deployment of a comprehensive acute care EMR, which has been the stitching that has helped created a unified health system from disparate hospitals. The case studies of quality and efficiency improvements are among the best we have ever seen,” said Philip Bradley, regional director of North America for HIMSS Analytics. “Not only have they shown that they achieved key performance indicators—their quantitative analysis in case after case showed tremendous cost savings and revenue generation enabled by their investment in health IT tools.”

Zsenits concludes that Stage 7 EMRAM is “not a destination but a mode of operation” going forward to drive further excellence at the Rochester provider. “For all intents and purposes, we are still a new organization,” adds Glynn. “We want to leverage the high level of collaboration we have created.”

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