HOUSTON (June 18, 2012)

Four Memorial Hermann Health System hospitals - Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center, Memorial Hermann Greater Heights, TIRR Memorial Hermann, and Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center - have achieved Stage 6 on the EMR Adoption ModelSM (EMRAM), upping the number of Memorial Hermann hospitals to seven that have earned Stage 6 status, and placing them among a handful of Houston hospitals to have earned the prestigious recognition, HIMSS Analytics announced today.

The achievement adds the four Memorial Hermann hospitals to an impressive list of only 333 U.S. hospitals to reach Stage 6. Put into perspective, as of May 2012, just 6.2 percent of the more than 5,300 U.S. hospitals tracked by HIMSS Analytics have reached Stage 6 on its Electronic Medical Record Adoption ModelSM (EMRAM). As the largest not-for-profit healthcare system in Texas, Memorial Hermann supports a 5,000 member clinical staff and treats more than 1.4 million patients annually.

HIMSS Analytics developed the EMR Adoption Model in 2005 as a methodology for evaluating the progress and impact of electronic medical record systems for hospitals in the HIMSS Analytics™ Database. Tracking their progress in completing eight stages (0-7), hospitals can review the implementation and utilization of information technology applications with the intent of reaching Stage 7, which represents an advanced electronic patient record environment.

Hospitals that reach Stage 6 status:

  • Have made significant executive commitments and investments to reach this stage.
  • Appear to have a significant advantage over competitors for patient safety, clinician support, clinician recruitment, and competitive marketing for both consumers and nurse recruitment.
  • Have almost fully automated/paperless medical records when they have implemented their IT applications across most of the inpatient care settings.
  • Have either started to evaluate their data for care delivery process improvements or have already documented significant improvements in this area.
  • Have made investments that are within reach of most hospitals and recognize the strategic value of improving patient care with the EMR.
  • Have begun to create strategic alignments with their medical staff to effectively utilize information technology to improve the patient safety environment.
  • Are well positioned to provide data to key stakeholders, such as payers, the government, physicians, consumers, and employers, to support electronic health record environments and health information exchanges.

Stage 6 hospitals also have achieved a significant advancement in their IT capabilities that positions them to successfully address many of the current industry transformations, such as meaningful use criteria in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, claims attachments for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, pay for performance, and government quality reporting programs.

In the last five years, Memorial Hermann Health System has created a single electronic medical record across its hospitals. Memorial Hermann Memorial City , Memorial Hermann Northwest, TIRR Memorial Hermann and Memorial Hermann-TMC have utilized the most advanced capabilities with complete digital imaging, voice recognition for physician reports, bar coding medication administration, computerized physician order entry, and clinical decision support.

These advanced features have resulted in improvements in operational efficiency, clinical quality and patient safety.

"A critical aspect of our success to date has been the fact that implementing an electronic medical record is not really a goal by itself," said Robert Murphy, MD, Chief Medical Informatics Officer. "We see our EMR as a tool to help create the best patient outcomes. We have collaborated with the medical and clinical staff leadership in our hospitals to find ways in which technology can help them deliver outstanding and efficient care."

As an example of this, the four hospitals that attained the Stage 6 designation have achieved "closed-loop" medication management. Physicians use computerized order entry with clinical decision support to ensure correct medication dosing and prevention of drug interactions. Pharmacists receive these orders without having to decipher handwriting, and use automated dispensing systems to have individual medication doses available on nursing units. Finally, nurses use bar coding technology to confirm the correct medication for the correct patients, and the computer checks all of this with the original physician order.

"Each component is an important step in improving medication safety," said Dr. Murphy. "But it is the final culmination of having all aspects in place that creates a highly reliable process for patient safety. We are very pleased that our Memorial City, Northwest, TIRR, and Texas Medical Center hospitals have reached the Stage 6 level for an advanced electronic medical record."

"HIMSS Analytics congratulates Memorial Hermann for leading the way toward health IT adoption," said John Hoyt, FACHE, FHIMSS, Executive Vice President, Organizational Services, for HIMSS. "Stage 6 represents a level of sophistication that only 333 US hospitals have reached to date."