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Metro Health Attains HIMSS Level 7 Status

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Metro Health – University of Michigan Health has become the first health system in Grand Rapids to attain HIMSS Level 7 status, the most prestigious distinction in the use of electronic medical record technology to improve patient care.

The designation puts Metro Health in elite company. But the greatest accomplishments are the measurable improvements to the safety and quality of care – faster stroke treatment, more accurate medication administration and additional life-saving advancements.

These advances are supported by the hospital’s sophisticated use of information technology, which has been a hallmark of Metro Health even before it became the region’s first health system to adopt Epic electronic medical records in October 2006.

Examples from Metro Health’s case studies submitted to HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) include:

  • Speeding stroke treatment from 53 minutes to 29, enabled in part through Vocera technology.
  • Reducing readmission for heart attacks to rates below national averages through communication about EKG and blood chemical indicators of heart attacks.
  • Increasing opportunities to treat undiagnosed depression through automatic alerts to physicians based on patient questionnaires.
  • Improving diabetes management by tracking progress toward outcome targets.
  • Utilizing data analytics to support business decisions in choosing the best diagnostic tools.

“HIMSS is proud to recognize Metro Health – University of Michigan Health for their validation as a Stage 7 health care system, as tracked by the HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model,” said Phillip Bradley, Regional Director, North American, HIMSS Analytics. “The organization is also validated as a HIMSS Analytics Outpatient Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model Stage 7 system.”

The designation covers electronic medical record adoption in ambulatory as well as hospital applications. Metro Health is one of only two hospitals in the state of Michigan to have obtained both ambulatory and hospital applications.

Metro Health already was in rare company, part of the roughly one-third of health care systems that had achieved Level 6 status. The leap from Level 6 to Level 7 is significant – only 6.4 percent of health systems nationwide have reached Level 7, according to a summary report in 2018.

“Achieving this level is like finishing the last mile of a marathon, or the final 100 feet of a mountain ascent – it requires tremendous effort and very few accomplish it,” said Dr. Peter Hahn, President and CEO, Metro Health – University of Michigan Health.

“I could not be prouder of our IT team, clinical staff and operational professionals,” he said. “This accomplishment was a true collaborative effort, spanning every aspect of our health care system.”

Here is how HIMSS defines the qualifications for Level 7:

  • The hospital no longer uses paper charts to deliver and manage patient care and has a mixture of discrete data, document images, and medical images within its EMR environment.
  • Data warehousing is being used to analyze patterns of clinical data to improve quality of care, patient safety and care delivery efficiency.
  • Clinical information can be readily shared via standardized electronic transactions with all entities that are authorized to treat the patient, or a health information exchange.
  • The hospital demonstrates summary data continuity for all hospital services.
  • Physician documentation and computerize physician order entry has reached 90%, and the closed-loop (barcoding) processes have reached 95%.

While Level 7 represents the pinnacle of information technology achievement, it does not mark the end of Metro Health’s journey in IT innovation, said Josh Wilda, Chief Information Officer and Interim Chief Operating Officer.

“If anything, it’s just the beginning,” Wilda said. “Metro Health has long recognized and leveraged the power of information technology to deliver better health care. And we’re going to continue to lead the way.”

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joseph.weller@metrogr.org