This Week Health
November 7, 2023

Unleashing the Power of Health Information Technology at Honor Health: Innovations Transforming Healthcare

Todd Larson
Todd Larson

Unleashing the Power of Health Information Technology: Innovations Transforming Healthcare at Honor Health

In a recent interview with Todd Larson, the Chief Transformation Officer at Honor Health, we gained valuable insights into the strategic implementation of Health Information Technology (HIT) that is revolutionizing healthcare delivery. Honor Health, a leading health system in the Phoenix metro area, is at the forefront of merging technology and healthcare to provide innovative and community-focused care. Larson's role as Chief Transformation Officer offers a dynamic platform to drive significant change in healthcare, by integrating technology, information, operations, and patient care.

Larson's groundbreaking approach involves harnessing the power of Health Information Technology to centralize operations and optimize the patient experience. This strategic integration of technology within healthcare operations forms the cornerstone of Honor Health's approach to transforming patient care. We can witness this innovative framework in action through the command center, the innovation lab, and the unique military and first responder partnership program. These initiatives embody a patient-centric, outcome-driven approach that challenges traditional models of healthcare delivery.

Exploration of the Inspiration behind the Command Center at Honor Health

At the heart of Honor Health's commitment to centralizing healthcare operations and improving patient outcomes lies the command center—a hub of innovation within the healthcare industry. This visionary concept was conceived by Todd Larson, drawing on his extensive background in law enforcement. Larson saw an opportunity to apply the principles of interagency coordination and centralized operations to healthcare, revolutionizing the way tasks and responsibilities are fulfilled.

Larson explains, "The strategy behind it was to create a business plan of a network operations center where initially that was information, operations, safety, security, patient movement, patient ingress, egress, transport, all of those kinds of things would be in there, sort of from a safety, security, all hazards approach." This fresh and holistic approach prioritizes safety and security, integrating various aspects of healthcare to provide a cohesive and streamlined experience for both patients and staff.

What sets the command center apart is its ability to adapt and evolve over time. Initially focusing on operational efficiency and safety, the center has expanded its function to include care coordination and integration. Larson expresses the need to "focus on how we can coordinate and integrate all kinds of care in addition to operations." This gradual transformation reflects the center's dedication to creating an interface that allows healthcare professionals to optimize each stage of the patient's journey, from admission to discharge, resulting in improved outcomes and higher patient satisfaction.

The Command Center's Impact on Patient and Staff Safety and Outcomes

The command center at Honor Health serves a crucial purpose, bringing all relevant information into a centralized location to enhance patient and staff safety and improve outcomes. Inspired by post-9/11 law enforcement agencies, where coordinated efforts centralized operations and shared critical information, the command center's concept has been tailored to meet the unique needs of the healthcare environment. It now encompasses patient movement, transport, security, safety, and all-hazard approaches.

One of the primary goals of the command center is to proactively alert staff to potential patient issues before they occur. The center's design allows for future expansion, with currently only 40% of the building being utilized. This space provides room to integrate functions such as telemetry, remote nursing, virtual care, home health, and post-surgical monitoring. The objective is not just to enhance patient and staff safety, but also to create a sense of urgency in finding better methods to carry out operations.

The command center has already generated significant improvements, particularly in patient transport efficiency. By streamlining the process of on-site patient transport, the center has reduced patient wait times to almost zero. The center has also demonstrated remarkable staff efficiency, with data indicating that fewer staff members can achieve the same level of productivity. This has motivated nurses and technicians to embrace this cultural transformation, as they witness the benefits of assistance programs and automation.

Despite the initial technological barriers, significant progress has been made in integrating and harmonizing various operational center programs. The focus now is on achieving a single sign-in system for multiple programs, enabling easy accessibility and efficacy in monitoring video feeds. The ultimate goal is to synthesize and streamline all operations, creating a well-oiled machine that functions flawlessly.

An Insight into Honor Health's Innovative Strategies and Partnerships

Honor Health's commitment to innovation and transformation is further exemplified through their Network Operation Center and Innovation Lab. The Network Operation Center serves as the hub for information operations, safety, security, and patient movement. Initially designed as a means to centralize various healthcare operations, it has evolved to include care coordination and integration. This center allows for future growth and exploration of potentials in service lines such as remote nursing, telemetry, home health, and post-surgical care.

The Innovation Lab acts as a bridge between ideas generated at the ground level and large-scale implementation. It serves as a testing ground for new programs and ideas before they transition to real-time testing and live comparisons in the Network Operation Center. This integrated approach ensures a seamless transition from idea generation to implementation, improving overall efficiency and the implementation process.

Honor Health has also pioneered the Military and First Responder Partnership Program, uniquely integrating military personnel into hands-on training within trauma centers and emergency rooms. This program exposes military reservists to various patient-related experiences, equipping them to handle challenging situations effectively. Similar training is also offered to local law enforcement personnel, with a particular focus on trauma events. The program's simulated training environments provide realistic experiences, enhancing trauma response capabilities.

Future Outlook: Harnessing Health Information Technology for Transformative Healthcare

The constant evolution of Health Information Technology (HIT) in the healthcare industry highlights its critical role in transforming healthcare delivery models. Todd Larson's visionary approach, supported by Honor Health, demonstrates how strategic incorporation of HIT can drive advancements in patient experience, safety measures, and operational efficiency.

As Larson draws inspiration from his background in law enforcement, he successfully brings the command center concept to life within Honor Health, enabling improved patient safety, operational coherence, and integrated care. The success of such transformative initiatives relies on the combined efforts of on-ground staff, including nurses and technicians, alongside strategic innovations.

Honor Health's partnership program with first responders and military personnel exemplifies their commitment to enhancing trauma response capabilities and preparedness. Through their foresight and commitment to innovation, Honor Health continues to forge new pathways in healthcare delivery.

The future of healthcare lies at the intersection of technological advancements and the pioneering spirit of organizations like Honor Health. With HIT as a catalyst for change, the possibilities for innovative patient care, staff safety, and healthcare technology are endless. As Honor Health's transformative journey continues to unfold, it serves as an inspiring example of what the future of healthcare could potentially look like.

By embracing these prospects and honoring the pioneering spirit, Honor Health is set to continue writing its legacy of transformative healthcare service provision.

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