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Improving patient care. Technologies in flight.

The best health care technologies are designed to not only help deliver exceptional patient care, but to increase accuracy and efficiency for clinicians and staff. A number of these projects took flight over the past year or two, and remain on course for systemwide rollouts into 2022. Here’s a sampling of long-term projects that have lifted off and are getting ready to land in the upcoming year.

Safe, effective medication systems.

Making sure we have medications in stock when our patients need them – this is a top priority. A new pharmacy inventory management system improves patient care by introducing a better way to track medications. The new system, scheduled to roll out systemwide through early 2022, also helps us accurately charge for high-cost medications and remove obsolete stock.

“This technology is helping to ensure that all of our high-demand medications are available at all times by increasing our inventory visibility by 95%,” said Ghalib Abbasi, PharmD, MS, MBA, system director of pharmacy informatics.”

Eliminating the paperwork. Starting patient care sooner.

When patient information gets into Epic sooner, care teams can begin treating the patient faster. A new Solarity system automates faxing and scanning of new patient information, making it available in Epic sooner. Solarity launched this year for Health Information Management (HIM) and is continuing to roll out at other locations over the coming months.

Previously, when staff received paper medical records, they manually scanned them into Epic, then filed the paper copies. This labor-intensive process delayed medical records being viewable in Epic. Now, increased efficiency means patients can receive care even sooner.

Patient safety first.

Automating processes makes it safer for our patients. That’s the main goal of IV pump integration with Epic. This initiative eliminates manual process, making it safer for patients receiving IV medications and easier for our staff. A multi-year massive effort, this project piloted at Houston Methodist Sugar Land in 2019. It expanded to Houston Methodist The Woodlands and Houston Methodist Hospital this year. It is slated to launch at all remaining campuses in 2022.

To document IV medications, a nurse scans the patient’s wristband, the medication and the IV pump, eliminating the need to manually enter the information. This automation provides more detailed, precise information and a reduced risk for errors in IV infusions. Additionally, nurses can spend less time documenting and more time caring for patients. 

“This technology helps ensure the right medication is administered and verified throughout the medication management process,” said Janet Leatherwood, HMSL chief nursing officer.

Technology breakthroughs. Better patient care.

Initiatives like these take time and careful planning to successfully implement, and these projects currently in flight will make their final approach for landing next year. This is a small list of health care technologies that help improve efficiencies to care for our patients and promote safety.