Hendrick Health System has achieved Stage 7, the highest level attainable, on the HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model.

The Abilene, Texas-based system was notified of the achievement by HIMSS Analytics this week. Stage 7 of the HIMSS Analytics model measures adoption and utilization of an electronic health record and represents advanced use of EHR systems by healthcare organizations. The organization is one of only 63 provider organizations to achieve Stage 7.

In preparing for accreditation of Stage 7, the organization worked with Allscripts, its electronic health records system vendor, the information systems of which help it managing its clinical, financial and operational needs, says Duane Donaway, director of technology at Hendrick Health.

The delivery system serves a 24-county region in Texas, operating a medical center licensed for 564 beds and more than 3,500 employees. “The Stage 7 award recognizes our effort to create an informed and empowered community of providers, innovators and individuals, enabling an ever-improving state of health and wellness,” Donaway says.

Hendrick Health began to bring various departments into the process to achieve the recognition early to help them understand what the project was about and what the organization was looking for, says Andrea Kerley, project manager of clinical informatics. “A lot of time was spent in the 30 to 60 days before the on-site visit orienting the various groups to what EMRAM is and what it means,” she explains.

Still, there was a need for additional education of the workforce, according to Donaway. “When we started working on the EMRAM project and informing the physicians and clinical staff that this is about quality, patient safety, improving outcomes, increasing physician and clinical satisfaction and not an IT project, we started making progress.”

Benefits realized since the achievement of Stage 7 at Hendrick Health included working through the validation process to help departments have a better focus of their work and challenges, Kerley notes. “Several departments were happy to have an additional focus on workflows (that) they had been struggling to gain momentum with.”

This showed staff that their hard work had helped to drive better clinical decisions, improve core measures on quality and safety, improve operational efficiencies, and use analytics to lower infections and decrease medication errors, Donaway says. “It helped open everyone’s thoughts on other projects that we need to work on, like the use of predictive analytics and artificial intelligence for early identification of possible sepsis and kidney failures.”