NorthShore University HealthSystem Provides Roadmap to Quality Improvement and Practice-Based Research Using EMR

Evanston, IL – September 24, 2015 NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) clinicians have identified ways to utilize data captured by its Electronic Medical Record (EMR) to identify eligible clinical trial patients, assign treatments, and measure outcomes at the point of care. A step-by-step description of NorthShore’s quality journey will be posted online September 24 and will publish in the October issue of Neurology Clinical Practice, a medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“The work we’ve done provides a roadmap for how other neurology practice groups can follow a similar path, to make clinically meaningful use of their EMR,” said Demetrius (Jim) Maraganore, MD, Chairman of the Department of Neurology and Medical Director of NorthShore University HealthSystem’s Neurological Institute and Director of the Center for Brain Health.

Dr. Maraganore spearheaded the project with a team that included members of NorthShore’s Departments of Neurology and Health Information Technology, and the Center for Biomedical Research Informatics. Structured clinical documentation support (SCDS) toolkits were built into the EMR to standardize office visits, write progress notes and capture up to 1,000 discrete fields of data for 10 neurological disorders (brain tumors, epilepsy, migraine, memory disorders, mild traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease, restless leg syndrome, stroke) and for brain health (risk assessments and interventions to prevent Alzheimer’s disease in targeted populations).

The toolkits were designed to support clinical practice and research. For example, an electronic pop-up box was built to prompt neurologists to enroll eligible subjects in a DNA biobanking initiative. When the neurologist selected enrollment within the pop-up box, an electronic notice was sent to the research team to prompt consenting and blood drawing at the point of care, or to document non-participation (and why).

Quality improvement reports, generated quarterly, help identify opportunities to improve patient safety and outcomes. NorthShore is sharing the EMR tools and de-identified data with other departments nationwide toward the creation of a Neurology Practice-Based Research Network.

“Our paper provides practical points to assist other clinical practices to make quality improvements and practice-based research in Neurology using the EMR a reality,” said Dr. Maraganore.

About NorthShore University HealthSystem

Headquartered in Evanston, Illinois, NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) is a comprehensive, fully integrated, healthcare delivery system that serves the Chicago region. The system includes four hospitals in Evanston, Glenview, Highland Park and Skokie. NorthShore employs approximately 10,000 staff and has 2,400 affiliated physicians, including a 900 physician, multispecialty group practice with 100 office locations. Further, NorthShore supports teaching and research as the principal teaching affiliate for the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

NorthShore is a national leader in the implementation of innovative technologies, including electronic medical records (EMR). In 2003, NorthShore was among the first in the country to successfully launch a systemwide EMR with demonstrable benefits in quality, safety, efficiency and service to patients. NorthShore has been recognized by multiple national organizations for this notable achievement.