Lessons from Methodist: Deploying Evidence-based Reporting

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 - Methodist Willowbrook Hospital
Methodist Willowbrook Hospital

Intelligent, efficient and swift image review and evidence-based reporting was the objective when Methodist Willowbrook Hospital deployed Siemens syngo Dynamics. The state-of-the-art cardiovascular imaging and information system (CVIS) has met the needs of this suburban Houston community medical facility which began as a small community hospital. The CVIS has been so successful that it is now being adopted throughout the well-known Methodist Hospital System.

At Methodist Willowbrook Hospital, syngo Dynamics sits at the center of cardiovascular department operations. Physicians use the CVIS to review cardiac catheterization lab and echocardiography images and pre-populated measurements, and complete and e-sign cath lab reports. Reports are immediately sent electronically to referring physicians and to billing—omitting lags, increasing accuracy and speeding up payment. Cardiologists can review the images and reports with patients in the hospital, their office or home. Physicians use the syngo Dynamics Portal to show patients their images in their room after cardiac cath procedures. They also use the portal to read echocardiography exams remotely from their home or office.

“When we look at images, we generate an opinion,” says Mukarrum Baig, MD, medical director of the cardiac catheterization lab. “Instantaneous access to information allows good patient care. Access to digital images and reports allows us to make better decisions and offer an opportunity for better communications with patients, explaining why we have done what we have done.”

Baig’s colleague, Sanjay Kunapuli, MD, an interventional cardiologist, concurs. “I often show post-cath images in the patient’s room so he or she better understands the condition. I used to draw pictures. The real images help to motivate the patient in recovery.”

Inside an expanding hospital

Methodist Willowbrook is a reflection of its growing community in suburban Northwest Houston, as well as a progressive vision for cardiovascular care. It opened in December 2000 as a community hospital with 68 beds. In May 2010, the hospital underwent a major expansion to 251 beds, making it the largest tertiary care hospital in the area with services as varied as emergency, primary care, open heart surgery and advanced stroke care—all incorporating the well-known quality and expertise of The Methodist Hospital System.

The hospital’s mission is to provide high-quality, cost-effective healthcare that delivers the best value to patients in a spiritual environment of caring. All patient rooms are private. A central healing garden is open to all to relax, or reflect. The practice mirrors the patient-centered care theme of this year’s American College of Cardiology (ACC) President William Zoghbi, MD, who is part of the Methodist team as chair of cardiac imaging at the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center of The Methodist Hospital.

The cardiovascular department utilizes two cardiac catheterization labs, four echocardiography systems and a SPECT/CT system. They perform 3,200 cath lab procedures and 4,877 echocardiography exams per year, with an average 63-minute door-to-balloon time in 2011 and 2012.

The technology inside

Methodist Willowbrook installed its first cardiac catheterization laboratory in 2004. “We wanted to start early in our existence with the implementation of point-of-care data capture,” recalls Lyle C. Muhammad, MBA, RT(R), cardiovascular service line director.

Observing that interventionalists had no easy way to notate what transpired in the lab, Muhammad sought a commercial digital documentation solution, selecting the Siemens legacy Axiom Sensis Physician Report Tool (PRT) in combination with Siemens Axiom Sensis cath lab hemodynamic and monitoring software solution. PRT automatically grabbed patient vital signs and procedure parameters, such as size of stent and atmospheric pressure of stent deployment.

A dedicated workstation for reporting was set up for physicians in the control room. When they exited the cath lab, they were guided through the PRT tool to report. The reports already were populated with key data from the case to reduce time and increase accuracy. Physicians quickly saw the advantages as the system automatically triggered documentation in the report such as vessel scores and stenosis index, increasing accuracy and saving time. The faxed report immediacy was a plus for the cardiologists’ offices, expediting the billing process.

Better reporting

In 2006, echocardiograpy