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Intermountain Healthcare Receives CHIME Transformational Leadership Award

October 28, 2011

Analyzing data from Intermountain Healthcare’s vast enterprise data warehouse helped researchers at the Salt Lake City-based organization find the optimal
gestational age for babies born in its hospitals.

Aiming at that “39-week sweet spot” for gestation has had a huge impact throughout the organization, which delivers nearly 32,000 babies annually. By avoiding
medically unnecessary inductions or other interventions that caused birth
before 39 weeks, Intermountain was able to greatly improve patient outcomes,
reduce delivery complications and save money system-wide.

The research conducted by Intermountain’s team who used tools developed by the Information Systems department under the direction of Marc Probst, Intermountain’s CIO, earned the organization the 2011 Transformational Leadership Award, sponsored by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and the American Hospital Association (AHA). Probst and Intermountain received the award this week at the CHIME11 Fall CIO Forum in San Antonio.

Intermountain’s medical research team used the data in the system’s enterprise data warehouse to gather data that showed that, of babies delivered at 37 weeks of gestational age, 8.85 percent were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit. That
percentage dropped to 4.51 percent of babies delivered at 38 weeks of age, and fell further to 3.34 percent of babies with a gestational age of 39 weeks.

Data mining also found that babies were more likely to struggle with respiratory distress syndrome if physicians electively induced labor before 39
weeks. The data showed that if delivery occurs at 37 weeks, 1.92 percent of
babies were affected. At 38 weeks the percentage drops to 0.68 percent and
reaches a low of 0.42 percent at 39 weeks, before slightly climbing again at 40
weeks. The need for newborns to be on a ventilator also was significantly
reduced if delivery occurred at 39 weeks gestational age.

With statistical information from their own hospitals and using standards from
the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, Intermountain instituted
a guideline to limit labor inductions before 39 weeks unless a consulting physician agreed that an earlier induction was medically necessary. Today, there is strong support for the best practice protocol throughout all of Intermountain’s labor and delivery units.

Today, only 2 percent of all inductions at Intermountain’s hospitals occur before 39
weeks, compared with 28 percent of all inductions in 1999. Intermountain also
has seen a 60-minute drop in the average length of labor in electively induced
patients, with fewer C-sections (about 21 percent compared to the national
average of 33 percent) and other medical complications associated with
deliveries. The guidelines benefit new babies and their moms, and saves about
$1 million each year, Probst said.

“My colleagues at Intermountain Healthcare and I are honored to receive the CHIME-AHA Transformational Leadership Award.  This award signifies an increasing partnership between information systems and clinical teams in collaborating on and implementing solutions that transform healthcare delivery. This recognizes the strategic foresight and rigor of our teams, which are focused on developing best care models that continually improve medical outcomes and quality.”

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