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Akron Children’s earns top health IT designations from HIMSS

02-18-2020 (Akron, Ohio )

Akron Children’s Hospital has achieved the highest possible ranking on its use of its electronic health record (EHR) throughout the organization from the nonprofit Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics. The hospital has also been named a recipient of the organization’s Davies Award of Excellence.

The hospital reached Stage 7 of the Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) status for ambulatory (outpatient) care. Akron Children’s joins just 13% of outpatient clinics nationwide to achieve this designation, which examines health care organizations and how they use technology to support optimized patient care, reduce medication errors, improve operational objectives and achieve a near-paperless environment.

The Davies Award recognizes the thoughtful application of health information and technology to substantially improve clinical care delivery, patient outcomes and population health. The award promotes HIMSS’s vision and mission by recognizing and sharing use cases, model practices and lessons learned on how to improve health and wellness through the power of information and technology.

Akron Children’s has invested more than $50 million in its EHR, Epic, which was implemented across the organization in 2012. The hospital had already achieved HIMSS Stage 7 – the highest possible ranking – for acute (inpatient) care in 2018.

“Akron Children’s understands the important role that information technology plays in providing quality care to our patients,” said Grace Wakulchik, president and CEO. “These honors from HIMSS are a testament to the positive results we’ve seen by using our electronic health record in new ways to help children live healthier, happier lives.”

To earn the Stage 7 for ambulatory care designation, the hospital hosted HIMSS representatives in the fall for a site visit in which they observed employees as they utilized Epic to provide high quality care to patients. Several physicians also presented case studies to HIMSS representatives to show how they use Epic to improve processes.

The hospital’s systemwide implementation of the Zero Suicide initiative over a two-year period by building within Epic an evidence-based tool to asses suicide risk in patients was among its achievements that helped it earn the designation. The screening tools were introduced initially with behavioral health providers and eventually to all primary care sites and emergency departments.

To be considered for the Davies Award, hospitals must have already achieved a Stage 7 from HIMSS. In its application, Akron Children’s showcased three quality use cases that led to positive clinical care outcomes. The hospital’s orthopedic surgical pathway that has resulted in shorter hospital stays for scoliosis surgery was among the programs highlighted that showed how the EHR can help facilitate compliance among caregivers to achieve a goal.

“We are proud to be among the select group of hospitals to reach Stage 7 with HIMSS and receive the Davies Award,” said Harun Rashid, chief information officer. “These achievements show that Akron Children’s has embraced technology to enhance patient safety, organizational excellence and quality, which means better outcomes for our patients and families.”

The hospital will be honored for the Davies Award on March 12 at the HIMSS Global Health Conference in Orlando, Florida.

In addition to its recent HIMSS honors, Akron Children’s also recently achieved the Most Wired distinction for the sixth consecutive year. The Most Wired survey provides industry-level benchmarks for IT adoption for operational systems, security, patient engagement and clinical performance, and recognizes organizations with exceptionally high IT systems and integration throughout their enterprise.