NEWS | September 16, 2013

UC Davis Medical Center selected as 2013 Enterprise HIMSS Davies Award winner


UC Davis Medical Center is a winner of the 2013 Enterprise HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence, which recognizes excellence in the use of health information technology.

Specifically, the Nicholas E. Davies Award recognizes the use of the electronic health record (EHR) to successfully improve health-care delivery processes and patient safety while achieving a demonstrated return on investment.

“We are very proud of the recognition of the Enterprise HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence,” said Thomas S. Nesbitt, interim Vice Chancellor for Human Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine. “This award demonstrates the high level of partnership throughout UC Davis Health System and our commitment to effectively using modern information technology to provide the safest and highest quality care to our patients.”

UC Davis earned the award in part for implementing a sophisticated, accredited EHR system used to improve quality of care and patient safety that extends well beyond the medical center. HIMSS, the nation’s leading hospital information technology society, noted that UC Davis has exchanged 3.7 million patient records of different types with non-affiliated health providers in the community and region since 2008.

The medical center in Sacramento and affiliated UC Davis clinics serve a large, highly diverse, inland Northern California population that is spread out over 33 counties and approximately 65,000 square miles. In addition to the geographic challenges of helping patients at a distance, UC Davis clinicians have often encountered patients who have had recent clinical tests performed by other care providers who weren’t able to easily share that information with UC Davis.

“UC Davis leadership made the modern EHR, telehealth and other associated health information exchange connections a top organizational priority years ago,” said Michael Minear, chief information officer for the health system, who also helped the health system achieve Stage 7 of the HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model in 2012 as well as “Most Wired” and “Most Connected” designations.

“We always are striving to improve our IT infrastructure and we continue to make investments and improvements,” said Minear. “This strong support and institutional commitment, including clinician leadership, strong funding support from leadership, and updated procedures and policies, have been successful in supporting our technology goals,” said Minear.

To be considered for the Davies award, UC Davis Health System submitted case studies in five different topic areas that highlight how UC Davis has fully integrated health information technologies to improve patient care and safety, and to advance research and cost control.

Summaries of the case studies are as follows:

  • Health Information Exchange: Targeting National Patient Safety Goals, such as making sure important test results and patient medication information gets passed along to the right people at the right time, UC Davis deployed its EHR system to support the exchange of patient clinical data within the health system and beyond. It is now averaging more than 64,000 records of multiple types per month with non-affiliated care providers. Record sharing extends far beyond the Sacramento area to include distant parts of California and a number of other states.
  • Clinical Value: The EHR system has emerged as one of the most transformative events in the history of the health system. It has become the new foundation for care delivery, providing sophisticated tools for reliable, transparent and safe clinical practices, especially for quality-of-care improvements such as reducing infection rates. The EHR system has enabled the medical center to establish real-time surveillance, 24/7, within the hospital to help recognize and measure trends and events quickly. Life-threatening complications from infections such as sepsis and ventilator-associated pneumonia were significantly reduced with the help of the EHR and other clinical software applications, which gave hospital personnel the tools to better monitor and sustain best practices in infection control.
  • Telehealth: For the past 20 years, the UC Davis Center for Health and Technology Program in Sacramento has been providing health-care services to rural underserved communities throughout the state using telecommunications technologies. Its telehealth program is one of the largest in the country, having provided nearly 37,000 synchronous (real time) and asynchronous (digitally captured and stored information available for review at a later time) telemedicine consultations, through highly secure, medical-grade connections, in more than 50 different clinical specialties. The center also expanded its reach through an internationally recognized and accredited education program, by helping create the California Telehealth Network, and by advancing crucial telehealth policies at state and federal levels as well as being a catalyst for a number of significant eHealth initiatives.
  • Privacy and Security: To achieve its goals of improving the effectiveness of communication among caregivers, as well as engaging patients and families in managing and making care decisions, the health system took a holistic approach to privacy and security of information and communications. It embraced a multi-faceted effort aimed at achieving a careful balance between safeguarding protected health information and avoiding overly restrictive access controls that could interfere with patient care. UC Davis created a number of innovative processes and software tools to manage access to clinical content. It also made significant investments in modern security technology that are uncommon for care providers. In addition, it paid particular attention to encrypting client computers and securing thumb drives, relevant emails and computer backup media.
  • Return on Investment: The EHR and associated technologies have had a dramatic impact on UC Davis Health System by enabling it to realize significant returns on the clinical technology investment in the form of enhanced revenues and reduced costs. The organization invested an estimated $160 million in capital costs from 2002 to 2013, and it saved an estimated $63 million over the same time period. The case study indicates there also are many other “soft” savings gained and costs avoided due to the electronic health record system, such as achieving the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ “Meaningful Use” goal for EHR and thus avoiding costly institutional penalties for not attaining it. Clinical-care improvement has been the primary driver of UC Davis’ commitment to EHR. But enhanced revenue and reduced costs for the health system are the additional benefits of EHR implementation.

“We’ve shown that once the core elements of an EHR system are deployed to support clinical care, an organization starts to think very differently about clinical content and processes,” said Minear. “Our work and achievements, however, represent more than just technological successes. We embraced health information technologies because they truly complemented our long-standing commitment to quality care and patient safety.”

Winning enterprise organizations, including academic medical centers, community hospitals, rural health hospitals and critical-access hospitals, must demonstrate the value of the EHR in supporting delivery of patient care and also document improved patient outcomes, identify the challenges faced, and describe the solutions implemented in a manner that can be replicated by other organizations. Winners of the HIMSS Enterprise Davies Award must have achieved Stage 6 or Stage 7 on the HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model.

“It is our pleasure to announce that UC Davis Medical Center has received the Davies Enterprise Award. Their implementation of their EHR and other supporting health information technology solutions have allowed them to demonstrate significant clinical and financial value in the challenging environment of a teaching, patient care, and research facility,” says Janis Curtis, chair, Davies Enterprise Committee, and Business Relationship Director at Duke University Health System. “UC Davis Medical Center is a pioneer in health information security and telehealth. Their efforts and achievements have truly advanced the health information technology industry and all of their case studies serve as valuable reference information for other organizations.”

UC Davis Medical Center will be recognized at the 2014 Annual HIMSS Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 23-27, 2014. For more information on applying for the HIMSS Davies Awards of Excellence, visit the HIMSS Davies Award website. Applications are accepted throughout the year.

UC Davis Health System is improving lives and transforming health care by providing excellent patient care, conducting groundbreaking research, fostering innovative, interprofessional education, and creating dynamic, productive partnerships with the community. The academic health system includes one of the country's best medical schools, a 619-bed acute-care teaching hospital, a 1000-member physician's practice group and the new Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. It is home to a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, an international neurodevelopmental institute, a stem cell institute and a comprehensive children's hospital. Other nationally prominent centers focus on advancing telemedicine, improving vascular care, eliminating health disparities and translating research findings into new treatments for patients. Together, they make UC Davis a hub of innovation that is transforming health for all. For more information, visit