El Camino Hospital: Using health information technology to promote patient safety
BACKGROUND: El Camino Hospital is a leader in the use of health information technology to promote patient safety, including bar coding, computerized order entry, electronic medical records, and wireless communications. OVERALL APPROACH TO QUALITY AND SAFETY: Each year, El Camino Hospital's board of directors sets performance expectations for the chief executive officer, which are tied to achievement of local, regional, and national safety and quality standards, including the six Institute of Medicine quality dimensions. He then determines a set of explicit quality goals and measurable actions, which serve as guidelines for the overall hospital. The goals and progress reports are widely shared with employees, medical staff, patients and families, and the public. ADDRESSING THE SIX IOM QUALITY AIMS: For safety, for example, the medication error reduction team tracks and reviews medication error rates. The hospital has virtually eliminated transcription errors through its 100% use of computerized physician order entry. Clinical pathways and standard order sets have reduced practice variation, providing a safer environment. CHALLENGES: Many projects focused on timeliness, such as emergency department wait time, lab turnaround time, and pneumonia time to initial antibiotic. Results have been mixed, with projects most successful when a link was established with patient outcomes, such as in reducing time to percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty for patients with acute myocardial infarction.