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Children's Hospital of Orange County

A hero in health care: CHOC Children’s attains HIMSS Stage 7

If you ask kids today about their favorite “transformer,” the responses would probably be along the lines of “Optimus Prime” or “Bumblebee” – heroes of the toy aisle and movie franchise.

The patients at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC Children’s), however, are cared for by real-life heroes: the physicians and nurses who are transforming pediatric health care. Many of the unsung heroes develop and maintain CHOC’s Electronic Medical Record (EMR).

In early January, the California-based health system achieved the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Acute Stage 7 Award. The award distinguishes the highest level on the Electronic Medical Records Adoption ModelSM (EMRAM), which is used to track EMR progress at hospitals and health systems.

"Earning Stage 7 recognition from HIMSS Analytics acknowledges the dedication of our hospital, our staff and our physicians to providing the safest and highest quality care to the children we serve," said Mark Headland, CHOC’s vice president and chief information officer to HIT Consultant. "Eliminating errors and significantly reducing serious harm,” he continued, “are virtually impossible without a good technology foundation."

CHOC became a Cerner client 13 years ago, and now has its solutions in the hospital and its primary and specialty care centers. Like our favorite AutoBots, CHOC is saving lives; though the heroics come from clinicians, and the safety features from the EMR.

For example, CHOC cut its central line-associated blood stream infection (CLABSI) rate by more than 85 percent from 2005 to 2014. This coincided with a huge drop in morbidity and mortality rates.

Interfaced breastfeeding orders and bar code scanning prevented hundreds of breast milk administration errors. From May 2010 to November 2014, expired and “wrong milk” administrations dropped from infrequent to nonexistent; labeling and storage errors now hover near zero.

Administering expired breastmilk was never a significant problem at CHOC. Yet, in a one year period, barcoding uncovered 193 “near misses” - proving the “you don’t know what you don’t measure” phenomena.

“CHOC Children’s is living up to its mission to nurture, advance, and protect the health and well-being of children,” said John Daniels, CNM, FACHE, FHIMSS, CPHIMS, vice president, strategic relations, HIMSS to HIT Consultant. “They have virtually eliminated serious patient harm events, and they have virtually eliminated non-ICU codes by implementing a predictive alerting process using their EHR.”

“If other hospitals are looking for a best practice in including breast milk in the closed loop medication administration process, tell them to reach out to CHOC Children’s for their case studies on improvements in breast milk bar code scanning,” said Daniels. “It’s outstanding! Quality is seriously ingrained into this organization’s culture.”

CHOC is exploring new ways to improve the health of its population, with advances in its interoperability with other pediatric providers and automating its care management processes across the health system. CHOC is also implementing Cerner’s population health platform, HealtheIntentSM, and adapting it to pediatric populations. CHOC specialists are helping Cerner develop disease-specific registries for multiple common pediatric diseases.

Receiving the HIMSS Stage 7 Award is a significant milestone, but CHOC is by no means finished transforming pediatric health care. “Industry buzz aside, at the end of the day, it’s not about advancing IT,” explained Dr. William Feaster, CHOC’s chief medical information officer. “It’s about creating a safe and effective care environment for the children we serve.”

One thing is clear: this pediatric hero is more than meets the eye.

For more information, watch the video below for Dr Feaster’s thoughts on attaining this organizational milestone.

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Client outcomes were achieved in respective settings and are not representative of benefits realized by all clients due to many variables, including solution scope, client capabilities and business and implementation models.