Friday, December 20, 2019

GBMC Recognized Again for Excellence in Information Technology

I am proud to announce that GBMC has received the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Davies Award of Excellence. This recognition acknowledges organizations that have applied health information technology to substantially improve clinical care delivery, patient outcomes, and population health.

Readers of this blog will recall that within months of our Epic go-live, GBMC achieved the highest level of recognition (level 7) from HIMSS for both inpatient and ambulatory electronic records. The Davies award requires implementation and evidence of significantly improved outcomes, in part, because of the use of the technology.

Among the examples that we presented to the Davies examiners was our use of informatics to improve the treatment of stroke. We recognized that we had not been using tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) as often as we should have. Treating thrombotic stroke patients with tPA within three to four hours of the incident can greatly improve recovery rates and speed. Our Aim was to leverage our electronic health records (EHRs) to improve recognition of qualified patients for tPA treatment and to administer it more safely and efficiently through workflow improvements.

Our measures were door to CT scan time and door to needle time. One of our tests of change was the development of a nurse-driven triage protocol and provider order set to make it easier to do follow the correct processes.

To drive the use of the new protocol and to ensure the effectiveness of the new functionalities in the EHR, we created a clear governance strategy to implement these workflow changes. With these new workflows, we were able to recognize more patients who might be experiencing a stroke and expedite tPA treatment to qualified patients, surpassing our goal of 11% usage rate, thereby exceeding national and state average performance, while also adhering to the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines standards.

Thanks to faster identification through our new design, more than half of our ischemic stroke patients were discharged to their home or to acute rehab.

I am honored that we have received this and award and I want to congratulate Dave Hynson, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Cindy Ellis, Epic IT Application Director, Mary M. Swarts, BSN, RN, Clinical Informatics Quality and Safety Specialist, and all who were involved in helping us achieve this recognition.

A quick reminder from the GBMC Cybersecurity Team…
As you are getting ready to enjoy the 2019 Holiday Season with your family and friends, there are a few things that our cybersecurity team would like for you to remember to keep your personal information safe when purchasing items online.

All devices connected to the internet have the potential to be exploited by wrongdoers. This can result in stolen credit card data, passwords/passphrases, and even your social security number. Please review these pointers to help keep your information safe.
1. To avoid theft, do not keep your phone in your back pocket. Keep it in your front pocket, jacket, purse, or backpack.
2. Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi without the protection of a reliable mobile Virtual Private Network (VPN) client installed on your device. A VPN can help protect you while shopping. Also avoid "Free for Life" offers, and look for the country of origin of the VPN.
3. Check with your wireless provider or anti-virus software vendor about VPN services.
4. Be careful when using apps like Venmo, PayPal, and social media to transfer money to friends and family.
5. This is the time of year when there’s an increase in social media giveaway scams.
6. Cybercriminals create a sense of urgency with words like “limited-time” or “free giveaway” offerings or by telling victims they need to share the content with others to open more offers and free giveaways.
7. While shopping online…be careful of impersonating sites, otherwise known as “site spoofing” and of adding extensions to your internet browsers as some are malicious and can be used to steal personal information. If you are prompted to install an extension when visiting a site, do not click on the link and promptly close the page. Recently 60,000 shoppers were tricked by a spoofed Walmart site that prompted a Chrome extension installation.

I want to thank our Information Technology and Cybersecurity team for working hard to educate us about the threat of attacks on our computer systems and for continually working to minimize the harm from attacks. Our ITS team does an excellent job in defending our networks while preserving the efficient delivery of healthcare. As technology and threats change, they are continually adjusting.

Please remember that cybercrime is a serious and relevant threat to you and to GBMC. Don’t click links unless you are sure they are safe, don’t go to websites you aren’t familiar with, and ask IT for guidance if something doesn’t quite “seem right.” Let’s work together to keep our healthcare system safe from cybercrime. Thank you!

Earlier this week, I attended the Daily Record Icon Awards ceremony with Harry S. Johnson, Esq., previous Chair of the Board of Directors and current member of our GBMC HealthCare Board, where he was honored with the Icon award.

According to the Daily Record, “the Icon award recognize business leaders around Maryland who are over the age of 60. The award salutes them for their notable success and demonstration of strong leadership. The honorees also have moved their businesses and the state of Maryland forward by growing jobs and community involvement.”

I can’t think of anyone who is more deserving of this award than Harry Johnson! Please join me in congratulating Harry.

A Well-Earned Retirement
This week, I attended the retirement celebration for Phyllis Tyler, an outstanding Infection Control Practitioner. Phyllis spent 50 years at GBMC and was recognized at this year’s employee recognition celebration. Please join me in thanking Phyllis for her tremendous work in keeping our patients safe over all her years of service.


  1. Thank you so much for mentioning me in your blog. And thank you for the kind words at my retirement celebration! I am one of the lucky people who found something they loved to do and 50 years never felt like "work!"

    1. Thank you Phyllis and enjoy your well deserved retirement.


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