ATLANTA, May 2, 2013 – Peninsula Regional Medical Center (PRMC) in Salisbury, Md., the largest tertiary care facility on the Delmarva Peninsula, has been selected as the 2013 winner of McKesson’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Clinical Excellence. PRMC effectively used Modified Early Warning Scores (MEWS) along with its McKesson clinical information technology solutions to proactively identify patients at risk for a “code blue” medical emergency call, improving care quality and reducing mortality through earlier intervention.
MEWS is an evidence-based scoring system that uses patient vital signs to predict deteriorating patient conditions. Hospitalized patients often exhibit warning signs before experiencing critical health problems, but the signs are often not recognized. PRMC adapted the MEWS system to create “if/then” rules-based electronic alerts in its McKesson Horizon Care Alerts™ solution that triggered when regularly documented vital signs met the MEWS criteria. The alerts provided objective prompts for caregivers to take action, even when a patient’s physical appearance might not have suggested that it was necessary.
As a result, over a three-month pilot period in a medical/surgical unit, PRMC experienced no code blues or mortalities. And, over a nine-month pilot, there was a 67 percent decrease in code blues and a 76 percent increase in rapid response calls – which meant that care teams were addressing changing patient conditions more promptly. PRMC also rolled out the MEWS project in one of its cardiac step-down units, where there have been no code blues for the last three months. In addition, the MEWS system has been expanded to six medical/surgical areas, and PRMC has seen a 64 percent decrease in code blues and a 55 percent increase in rapid response calls on those units. PRMC estimates a potential annual savings of $3.2 million if it can prevent code blues across all medical/surgical units.
“Although other institutions have proven MEWS alerting to be helpful, we wanted to take it a step further by leveraging existing electronic patient data and our rules system to ‘hardwire’ the scoring predictions into clinician workflow,” said Chris Snyder, D.O., chief medical informatics officer and chief quality officer for PRMC. “Our caregivers can now more quickly intervene when patient conditions deteriorate.”
The Distinguished Achievement Award for Clinical Excellence was presented at a live competition April 17 in Denver. The annual awards program recognizes hospitals and health systems that have achieved notable results in improving healthcare quality and patient safety through the effective use of McKesson technology combined with the skills of their care teams. In honor of its achievement, PRMC will receive a $5,000 grant from McKesson to its Peninsula Regional Medical Center Foundation.
Finalists were chosen by a panel of four industry experts based on the Institute of Medicine’s six aims of quality healthcare: safety, effectiveness, patient-centeredness, timeliness, efficiency and equity. In deploying the MEWS scoring system through its clinical information technology, PRMC effectively addressed all six aims.
“Peninsula Regional has demonstrated innovation in evidence-based care, and its patients are the beneficiaries,” said Jim Pesce, president, Enterprise Information Solutions, McKesson Technology Solutions. “By optimizing the value of their technology and other resources, PRMC is leading the way for other organizations to do the same.”
For more information on this year’s awards program, visit the McKesson Distinguished Achievement Awards website.