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Winona Health

Winona Health’s population health work helps it achieve HIMSS Ambulatory honors

At a time when many community hospitals are simply trying to stay afloat, Winona Health is pioneering information technology (IT) advancements and transforming community health.

The independent, 99-bed community healthcare system, based in picturesque Winona, Minn., first partnered with Cerner in 2001. Despite its small IT budget, Winona Health became one of the first health care organizations to develop an integrated electronic health record (EHR).

The Winona Health reached a new IT milestone this past February when HIMSS Analytics announced three of its clinics had reached Stage 7 on the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Adoption Model for ambulatory settings — an achievement shared by less than 10 percent of healthcare systems in the U.S.

The recognition “is very rewarding, because our goal is to improve healthcare for our patients — it’s always about the patient,” said Daniel Parker, MD, chief of the medical staff. “This achievement has been an ongoing team effort, and it reflects that our data-driven, lean management culture is embedded throughout our organization.”

The organization’s strategic alignment with Cerner, together with its engrained lean management principles, enables Winona Health to continually improve and find value in its IT systems.

“Our IT partner, Cerner ITWorks, is completely integrated with our staff and that close collaboration is key to our ability to leverage IT when it comes to patient care,” Dr. Parker said.

Reducing readmissions, ED visits

To lower repeat visits for the same issues, data from Winona Health’s EHR helps providers target frequently ill patients. Since June 2013, care teams have identified 48 such patients in its population and tailored care plans to improve management and prevention of certain health conditions. The organization even helped some of these individuals find employment and encouraged them to live on their own.

These efforts have helped Winona Health decrease its readmission rate and preventable ED visits by up to 95 percent, as well as decrease total cost of care by 56 percent, resulting in a savings of more than $250,000.

Expanding online services

In 2013, Winona Health surveyed patients to find out what it should do to create a more engaging and user-friendly online member portal. The organization renamed the patient portal MyWinonaHealth and added requested features, such as online appointment scheduling and secure bill pay as well as appointment and health reminders.

As a result, 30 percent of patients regularly login to access and share information through the updated member portal. MyWinonaHealth has maintained a 50% user acceptance rate over the last two and half years, which shows the portal is helping patients engage in their health outside the four walls of the doctor’s office.

Since the beginning of 2014, patients have booked over 900 appointments, and the organization has sent almost 6,000 health reminders through MyWinonaHealth — numbers that will help Winona Health providers meet Meaningful Use requirements.

View All Client Achievement Stories
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.