MEDITECH Expanse EHR Implementation Streamlines C. difficile Testing

A MEDITECH Expanse EHR Implementation at an Ohio-based medical center has enhanced its C. difficile testing process resulting in a 32 percent relative change in canceled tests.

After Southern Ohio Medical Center’s (SOMC) MEDITECH Expanse EHR Implementation, its C. difficile testing process improved, leading to earlier disease detection and fewer canceled tests.

Specifically, the medical center experienced a 30 percent relative change in hospital-acquired infection of C. difficile and a 32 percent relative change in canceled tests.

“In addition to the mortality attributed to C.difficile, the morbidity cannot be overstated,” David Byers, MD, SOMC Senior Medical Infectious Disease Director, said in a public statement. “This is a disease that I have seen upend the lives of previously healthy patients through multiple relapses or even colectomies, and often precipitated by antibiotics they didn’t need.”

These improvements were brought on by a collaboration between SOMC’s Quality Improvement Team and MEDITECH Professional Services (MPS) to support evidence-based care, improve patient outcomes, and streamline the inefficient testing processes that were consuming the staff’s time.

“Collaboration between our internal team and MEDITECH Professional Services has helped us to set clear goals and develop a structured path forward,” said Byers. “We believe a significant part of our success was the extensive MEDITECH knowledge that the MPS team brought to the table. They helped us take our concept and build something that has greatly impacted our organization.”

The streamlined testing process also reduced staffing workload. Before the EHR implementation, the testing process was inefficient, with staff spending 3.5 hours per week on C. difficile testing, leading to several canceled tests, wasted supplies, and testing turnaround delays. 

According to the survey findings, one of the leading causes of burnout includes excessive documentation requirements.

The reduction in canceled tests resulted in time savings across different departments, SOMC stated. Primarily, pharmacists saved nearly four hours per week, previously used to review all C. difficile orders.

Additionally, by removing the need to document test cancelation and cancelation reasoning within the patient chart, staff saved between three and five minutes per specimen. Also, the implementation saved five minutes per test in the lab and led to a significant reduction in testing results delays.

“We are always looking for better ways to provide care,” Valerie DeCamp, SOMC vice president of Clinical Integration and Chief Quality Officer, DNP, RN, A-GNP-C, NE-BC, said. “Our performance model is called A Better Way and our team, in partnership with MEDITECH Professional Services, did just that. We found a better way to detect C. difficile infections and provide patient treatment earlier on.”

Hoda Sayed-Friel, MEDITECH senior vice president, said preventing hospital-acquired infections is an essential strategy for improving both the patient experience and provider experience.

“Southern Ohio Medical Center’s commitment to quality improvement really is an investment in their future,” Sayed-Friel said. “Already they are making a huge impact on their community by improving patient outcomes and reducing staff burdens by maximizing the potential of their Expanse EHR. We are excited that Expanse and MEDITECH Professional Services are able to support them on their journey.”

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