Christiana Care Health System has been recognized as a 2013 Computerworld Honors Laureate winner for creating a software program that enables the safe and confidential sharing of necessary information about patients as they change caregivers (known as handoffs) during their hospital stay. This is the second consecutive year Christiana Care has received the award.
Computerworld annually honors companies demonstrating visionary applications of information technology promoting positive social, economic and educational change. Christiana Care won in the health category, one of 268 winners in all.
“Receiving this award for the second consecutive year demonstrates our ongoing partnership between IT and our clinical staff to create transformative solutions that deliver greater value to our patients,” said Karen Gifford, Christiana Care’s director of Information Technology. “This tool not only improves communication, efficiency and patient safety; it decreases the time a doctor or nurse spends during the handoff process, permitting more time with the patient.”
Hospital handoffs are episodes in which responsibility for a patient passes from one health professional to another, and in which important information about the patient is also exchanged. Studies show an estimated 80 percent of serious medical errors involve miscommunication between caregivers during patient handoffs.
Christiana Care’s customized software program, named eSignout, addresses the problems handoffs can cause by eliminating handwritten documents, capturing detailed patient information, such as demographic data and care plans, in a confidential, secure, easy-to-view format. The tool also makes clear the name of the clinician caring for the patient at any moment. That’s critical in a hospital system with teams of caregivers.
The program is different from clinical systems used for ordering tests and treatments and documenting care. eSignout provides information only relevant to patient handoffs, such as changes or potential changes in patient conditions that alert clinicians to problems and concerns. The tool allows caregivers to document recommendations.
The results of eSignout are significant. During ICU implementation in 2012, there was 100 percent caregiver use and satisfaction level in less than 72 hours. Handoff times reduced more than 50 percent.
Over the past year, 495 unique users of eSignout managed handoffs for 300 – 400 patients a day. Because clinician feedback helped develop the program, a process for receiving, evaluating and implementing enhancements is in place, with upgrades planned at least annually.
The Computerworld Honors Program awards will be presented at an awards ceremony on June 3 in Washington, D.C.
Last year, Christiana Care’s patient self-evaluation tool, Insight, received Top Five recognition in the health category competition from Computerworld after the magazine previously named the program a Laureate award winner. In addition, the publication recognized Christiana Care Vice President and Chief Information Officer Randy Gaboriault earlier this year as a Computerworld 2013 Premier 100 IT Leader honoree.
Founded in 1988, The Computerworld Honors Program is the longest running global program that honors individuals and organizations for their use of information technology in innovative ways. Computerworld, with an online audience of more than 3.5 million unique, monthly visitors, is a leading source of technology news and information for IT influencers worldwide.