Predictive Algorithms Save Lives Sepsis @uchealth: A 5-slide talk

This data dilettante (see previous posts: dilettante #1, dilettante #2) has enjoyed armchair theorizing with all of you, my best (online) friends. Today we explore how our super-smart team scrambled our way to improving sepsis care with a predictive algorithm we built.

The old saying goes: the success of any major project in a large organization follows the 80:20 rule. 20% of the work is getting the technology right, and 80% is the socio-political skill of the people doing the work.

We all underappreciate this fact.

It turns out that we spent months building a sepsis alert predictive tool, based on various deterioration metrics, and a deep analysis of years of our EHR data across multiple hospitals. We designed it to alert providers and nurses up to 12 hours BEFORE clinicians would spot deterioration.

We patted ourselves on the back, deployed the predictive score in a flowsheet row, and in the patient lists and monitoring boards, with color coding and filters, and stepped back to revel in our glory.

Right?

Nope.

Turns out that our doctors and nurses were ALREADY FULLY BUSY (even before the pandemic) taking are of critically ill patients. Adding YET ANOTHER alert, even with fancy colors, did NOT result in a major behavior shift to ordering IV fluids, blood cultures, or life-saving antibiotics any quicker.

Hmph.

See the fancy patient-wearable tech on the left (Visi from Sotera, in this case), and one of our hardworking nurses, with ALL of our current technology hanging off her jacket and stethoscope. She should be the visual encyclopedia entry for “alert fatigue.” 😦

(right: one of our overburdened hardworking nurses, image used with authorization)

Back to the drawing board

As result of our failure, we huddled to think about transforming the way we provided care. It was time to disrupt ourselves. We decided to implement a Virtual Health Center, mimicking what we had seen in a couple places around the country: we deployed 2 critical care physicians and about a half-dozen critical care nurses on rotation, off-site at an innovative, award-winning Virtual Health Center.

This second time around, we created a cockpit of EHR data and predictive alerts to the VHC clinicians, who were dedicated to watching for deterioration across ALL our hospitals, and responding quickly. This does several things:

  • Takes the load off busy front line clinicians
  • Creates a calm environment for focused, rapid response
  • Dramatically improves the signal-to-noise ratio coming from predictive alerts

This way, the VHC nurses view all the alerts, investigate the chart, and contact the bedside nurse when the suspicion is high for sepsis, and start the sepsis bundle immediately.

Soon, by tweaking the ways our teams worked together, we were able to reduce the burden on bedside nurses and physicians and simplify handoffs.

See chart above: Before the VHC, bedside nurses were responsible for detecting sepsis (infrequent, subtle signals during a busy shift with lots of loud alarms for other things), with many ‘grey box’ tasks, as well as ‘magenta box’ delays.

After implementing the VHC, the VHC nurses took over the majority of ‘green box’ tasks, reducing the bedside ‘grey box’ work and completely eliminating ‘magenta box’ delays.

As a result, we have dropped our “time to fluids” by over an hour, and “time to antibiotics” by 20 minutes, which we estimate has saved 77 more lives from sepsis each year.

CMIO’s take? Predictive analytics, data science, machine learning, call it what you like. This is a paradigm shift in thinking that requires disrupting “business as usual” and is hard, but rewarding work. I can’t wait to see what we all can achieve with these new tools.

My Failure Resumé (a talk)

What lessons can we learn from CT Lin’s failures?

Thanks to the Colorado Chapter of HIMSS (Health Information Management Systems Society) and to Bonnie Roberts and Rich Morris for co-hosting my presentation.

Based on my recent Failure Resumé 1 pager. Here are some personal stories, life lessons, and 3 exercises to help you build a failure-tolerant future.

With, of course, a bonus ukulele song at the end.

CMIO’s take: Have you written a failure resumé? Are you building a failure tolerant future? Let me know in the comments.

I can see clearly now, my Sprain is gone (ukulele)

Thanks to my collaborators on the Patient Radiology Image Viewing team at UCHealth: Evan Norris MD, Ciarra Halaska, Justin Honce MD, Peter Sachs MD, and Kate Sanfilippo. Come see our talk at Epic XGM 2021 (eXpert Group Meeting) next month! Session Rad 1.4

What’s the TL;DR? Allowing patients to view their radiology images in their patient portal, alongside their radiology reports, is technically feasible, and does NOT cause increased anxiety for patients or increased workload for providers (in fact, ZERO phone calls, and yet our patients view 39,000 images per month!). Eighty percent of patients liked it. Many showed their images to their providers, some saved copies, some posted on social media! Some had technical difficulties, some had trouble understanding the images.

It is a good start, but there is more work to be done!

Wanna know more? Here is our pre-print publication.

CMIO’s take? It is wonderful to work on teams with great colleagues in the service of better, more transparent patient care.

Dr. CT Lin’s Covid-19 advice for patients. KOSI 101 and Mile Hi Magazine

In the link below, it is the interview from April 12, 2020.

https://kosi101.com/mile-high-magazine-public-affairs/

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Mile Hi Magazine last week in regards to questions about how patients can cope with Covid-19 at home.

I responded to such questions as:

  • So many people contract but recover, is this what our body is designed to do?
  • Can people determine whether they have the virus without a test on symptoms alone?
  • When contracted, quarantine is the first step. What’s next in terms for two weeks – nutrition, special foods to eat to help the immune system fight?
  • Any special foods we should be eating now to be in top immune condition should we contract?
  • Any over-the-counter medicine to take for the fever or diarrhea?
  • Should people change out bed linen during the two-three weeks period?
  • Once fever breaks, is this a key sign that its over?
  • Should people exercise while body is fighting the infection?
  • Once over, should person we wait a couple days to ensure no symptoms return?
  • If Covid-19 is a flu strain, will it mutate into another strain as flu does each season for next winter?
  • Anything else you feel is pertinent to help people feel they can get over it if infected.

I made one particular point at the end of the interview. I shared our family’s strategy for coping with the anxiety and stress during this pandemic:

  1. Exercise every day
  2. Play or make music every day
  3. Limit yourself to 30 minutes of news or social media daily
  4. Three Good Things. At dinner each of us discusses THREE THINGS we are grateful for, today. INSTEAD of our natural tendency to focus on the negative, this exercise helps us reframe our day in a positive light.

CMIO’s take? I challenge all of us to do THREE GOOD THINGS with our loved ones at dinner every night.

UCHealth: ‘Most Wired’ level 10!

Uncomfortable-looking author

We are incredibly honored and humbled to be awarded Most Wired level 10 by CHIME: the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives.

We were one of the three organizations, out of thousands applying, to be awarded level 10, indicating the highest achievement in superior performance and process for information technology used to improve clinical care. This is the first year that CHIME separated out the awardees into levels 7, 8, 9, and 10.

See my last blog post for some of the details of our presentation at CHIME and some of the projects contributing to our success.

It was humbling to stand by the CIOs from Cedar Sinai and Avera Health to receive the honor. Link to article from CHIME below.

CHIME Posts 2019 Most Wired’s Awards and Recognition List

What I said in my acceptance comments, and I stand by them:

At UCHealth, Clinical and IT excellence arises from Partnerships:
1. Partnership between the CIO and CMIO and our teams. We make each other better than we could be alone.
2. Partnerships between UCHealth and our vendor partners: we know that there are more smart people who DON’T work for us, than who do.
3. Partnerships between UCHealth and the CHIME community. Healthcare CIO’s are a brilliant lot. We know we stand on the shoulders of giants.
Lastly, we want to pay it forward. More than 3 health systems deserve to be level 10. ALL patients deserve to be treated by a health system performing at its best and we want to see MANY MORE health systems on stage next year.

The End of Secrecy? (a preview of a talk at CHIME19)

I’m at CHIME19 this week: the College of Health Information Management Executives, Fall Forum. Eight hundred Healthcare CIO’s and a growing number of CMIO’s are members. My CIO, Steve Hess and I are giving a talk called “Is this the End of Secrecy in Healthcare?” where we outline our (sometimes) rocky journey toward ever-increasing transparency for our patients.

We know that an informed patient is much more likely to be an engaged patient, and engaged patients have better health outcomes. So, how do we increase the information available to patients? We have to overcome inertia, fear, and sometimes, epithets.

We were interviewed by Kate Gamble of Health System CIO to preview the contents of our talk, see below.

https://healthsystemcio.com/2019/11/01/how-uchealth-is-leveraging-transparency-to-create-a-better-user-experience/

Sometimes we have to look outside of healthcare for our inspiration:

  • OpenTable
  • Travelocity
  • Wikipedia
  • Instagram
  • Yelp
  • 23andMe

Confused? Excited? Freaked out? So were we.

CMIO’s take? Is this the End of Secrecy? Yes. Yes it is.

Making slides for a talk? How to make them more memorable (advanced tips)

Powerpoint deck on how to give a good powerpoint talk linked here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/pmzloklxmmr5132/2019-0513%20How%20to%20give%20an%20effective%20presentation%20-%20advanced%20-%20CTLin.pptx?dl=0

I’ve been thinking about giving talks backed by powerpoints. Leaving aside the many talks on “Death by Powerpoint”, the lifeblood of the industry is on slides-man-ship in presenting new ideas to our own organization’s leadership, and at national meetings.

And then you see these lovely presentations by TED speakers who are inspiring, tell great stories, but DO NOT have to provide detailed scientific rigor underneath their high-flying narratives.

We, in informatics, have to contend with both parts of this conundrum: how to tell a compelling story well enough to capture imaginations, and more importantly, purse-strings, and yet back it with enough data and science to be compelling to our very picky bean-counters and scientists.

Further complicating this fact is that often, our powerpoints get distributed by email and have to STAND ALONE to convince others, sometimes. Therefore, the whole TED TALK, with IMAGES ONLY and NO DATA become useless in this context; now we have to figure out EITHER how to write an entire white paper (1-4 page brief that can be read quickly) to supplement any slides we give, or to modify these slides so that they CAN stand alone. Ideally, we can write a powerpoint slide deck that includes enough detail to satisfy data-hounds, and yet engaging enough, with a minimum of words, to create a compelling narrative.

CMIO’s take? Only you can judge if I’ve achieved my goals (see link). This is a summarization of more than a decade of my ‘doing it wrong’ and set of guiding principles that I’ve used to continually improve my own talks. I already presume that you know how to build a Powerpoint deck, and that you’ve read other articles on How-To in powerpoint, maybe Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen, or Dan Roam’s Show and Tell. There’s lots out there. But this is my take.

Improving Wellness via EHR Optimization Sprints and High Performing Teams. WellDOM speaker series with Amber Sieja and Katie Morrison

It is always a pleasure to stand up and discuss our Informatics work in public forum. We always strive to reduce physician burnout and the EHR burden by improving teamwork and practice efficiency. As a side effect, we discovered the principles behind Agile teamwork, reducing waste, and the ideas underlying High Performance Teams (both running one, and teaching clinics how to become one).

The talk is 50 minutes and the podium is shared with my colleague Katie Morrison MD, Director of the WellDOM program (Wellness in the Department of Medicine at University of Colorado) and my colleague Amber Sieja MD, Senior Medical Director of Informatics at UCHealth. I’m grateful for their brilliance and collaboration.

The TL;DR is:

  • Sometimes you have to borrow and steal a team to get started
  • Get the right people on the bus: a physician informaticist, nurse informaticist, project manager all are crucial
  • EHR efficiency is NOT only about physicians: it is about teamwork
  • 2-week Sprints are a good timeline: short enough to be urgent, long enough to make some real change in the clinic
  • Eventually you’ll discover Agile, Lean, High Performance Team principles. Live them, and teach them to sustain yourselves

CMIO’s Take? TL;DR. Just do it.

“Empty Wallet” or Real Time Benefits Check interfaced into the EHR (woo!) Ukulele

Yet another misadventure with our protagonist

Thanks to all our EHR colleagues; I’m returning from Epic’s UGM (User Group Meeting: check out the twitter-verse at #UGM19) and learned a ton from other customer presentations and from Epic’s future vision as a company. Here is our contribution: a successful integration of RTBC (real time benefits check) of prescription co-pay, prior authorization data, and “payer suggested alternative” meds, right in the prescriber’s workflow, right inside the EHR. Simple, works fast (pharmacy- and patient’s insurance-specific real-time check within about 1 second) for every prescription written. Now, you can tell the patient “This prescription has a $4 co-pay at Target pharmacy”. What a difference.

This was the difference between my patient NOT paying $291 for doxycycline tablets vs $90 for doxycyline capsules. Really?

See my blog post on RxRevu previously. This is working well, and we’ve scaled up to all 3000 prescribers at UCHealth with excellent results.

TO celebrate, we’ve come to discuss our success at UGM … and (of course) to sing a song. Thanks to Terri Couts, VP of Epic Applications at Guthrie Clinic, co-presenting the topic, and for agreeing to sing with me!

CMIO’s take? Enjoy the song.

I Can See Clearly That My Sprain is Gone – Ukulele parody (and an XGM talk)

Author along with co-conspirator Peter Sachs MD. Neither can sing.

We (Dr. Peter Sachs, Vice Chair of Radiology at UCHealth, and I) recently had the pleasure of presenting our recent quality improvement work at Epic’s XGM (eXpert’s Group Meeting) in Verona, WI this week. In brief, we created and turned on the ability for patients to view their own radiology IMAGES online in their patient portal. We had already been sharing radiology REPORTS with our patients for over a decade, and this is an additional step towards information transparency. We think we are among the first to do this.

Despite some minor misgivings on the part of our clinical leaders, we were given the green light to turn this on. Short answer, over 22,000 patients viewed their images in the first month, September 2018 and … no complaints from either doctors or patients! So, we get to keep our jobs!

If you have 2 minutes, here’s the song:

And, if you have another 25 minutes, here’s the talk, and some Q/A after:

Patients Viewing Their Radiology Images Online. Peter Sachs, CT Lin, XGM 2019

CMIO’s take? It is terrific to have a close community of like-minded physician informaticists and technologists pulling to improve healthcare and patient experience, and celebrating each other’s successes. I’m ever grateful to innovative and inspiring colleagues.