Category: News & Events
February 25 2016
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In March 2016, University of Missouri Health Care will receive the HIMSS Nicholas E. Davies Award of Excellence for its outstanding achievement in health technology innovations. Dr. Thomas Selva, chief medical information officer for MU Health Care, will accept the award for the health system at the 2016 HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas. In this interview, Dr. Selva gives us a behind-the-scenes look at why his organization won this honor.

What is unique about the Davies Award, and why did MU Health Care apply?

Dr. Selva: The Davies Award is really, “Are you getting value out of the technology we’ve implemented?” That’s the question that everybody across the country has been asking since the rapid adoption of electronic health records (EHRs). The award is a recognition that we have clearly demonstrated that our EHR investment shows value, whether the value is hard dollars, patient safety or clinical outcomes.

The award process gave us the ability to step back and say, “Do we have a story to tell?” At MU Health Care, we had lots of stories to tell, we just had to learn how to tell our story. The award submission process created the structure to be able to really dig in and tell the story we wanted to tell.

What two things have contributed most to MU Health Care winning the award?

Dr. Selva: First, I would say that the partnership we have with Cerner has really allowed us to move forward very quickly. The obvious thing is to say, “Oh, because you are partnering with this large, very innovative health IT company, of course you are going to win these awards.” But, I don’t think that is true. The partnership really creates a sense of team, and the passion we have for being the best in health care contributed a great deal to our success.

Secondly, part of our culture really is that “good enough” really never is enough. You are never good enough; you always have to be better and improve.  One of the things that we had to work on was how to best tell our stories. A perfect example was our catheter-associated urinary tract infections. We were already doing really well. But the reality was, it wasn’t good enough. A low rate wasn’t good enough. The question was, “How can we get it to zero; how can we get to perfection?”

A health system can often tell a great story after an EHR implementation and say, “Our performance was really bad. We used the EHR to standardize practice, and look now, our performance is better.” Although that is a good story to tell, the Davies Award pushed us harder to find the people part of those stories. We wanted to tell the stories of the people who were in the trenches during the implementations.

The short answer to the question is that having the partnership with Cerner allows us to execute on issues that are important to us in a more rapid way, and we’re not constrained by the limitations of the software. Because of our relationship with Cerner and the Tiger Institute, if the solution is limited, we are just going to make it better.

The partnership with Cerner gives MU Health Care a lot of flexibility to modify and adapt the solutions when necessary. Can you give us an example?

Dr. Selva: While pulling data out of our various systems, and with the help of the Tiger Institute, we were able to put together displays and reports that really make management better and the patient journey better — especially in the operating room (OR). If you don’t get the first case started on time, the dominoes just fall through the day. And we definitely had room to improve. Before we had the relationship with Cerner, we had launched a true, lean Six Sigma project to eliminate the problem.

As our relationship with Cerner strengthened with the development of the Tiger Institute, we were able to bring in resources to figure out how to automate the reports. Then, in real-time or near real-time, the medical director of the OR can look at reports and know where he really needs to put the pressure.

It has also helped us drill down into where the holdup was, and then it blossomed into, “can we notify families in the waiting room and show where their loved one is in their journey through the OR?” There was a lot of what I call a “halo effect” that came out of that project — all of that completely enabled by our Tiger Institute relationship.

Dr. Selva will receive the Davies Award on behalf of MU Health Care during the annual HIMSS Awards Gala on Thursday, March 3. For more information about MU Health Care’s unique relationship with Cerner, please watch this video about the Tiger Institute for Health Innovation.

Bryan Bliven, Eileen Phillips, and Mike Bragg will be presenting HIMSS Session 187: Delivering Value With IT: Grass Roots to Planned Projects at 8:30 a.m. PT on Thursday, March 3, to discuss MU Health Care’s project selection and governance and to review two of their three case studies.