Northshore University Health System Reaches Stage 7 Ambulatory EMR Adoption Model

April 10, 2013
NorthShore University HealthSystem, a four hospital integrated healthcare delivery system based in Chicago, has become the first healthcare system in the country—and one of just two healthcare systems nationwide—to achieve the HIMSS Analytics’ Stage 7 designation for its ambulatory clinics and physicians’ offices.

NorthShore University HealthSystem, a four hospital integrated healthcare delivery system based in Chicago, has become the first healthcare system in the country—and one of just two healthcare systems nationwide—to achieve the HIMSS Analytics’ Stage 7 designation for its ambulatory clinics and physicians’ offices. 

In reaching Stage 7, NorthShore has created an environment where paper charts are no longer used to deliver patient care.  HIMSS Analytics, a division of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), cited NorthShore’s success in using an EMR to enhance continuity of care, patient safety, consumer engagement and data evaluation in awarding the Stage 7 Ambulatory designation. 

“We are honored to be recognized as achieving Stage 7 Ambulatory by HIMSS Analytics.  It is a testament to our leadership team and the work done by our clinicians, medical group and others—including our operations, information technology, analytics and training personnel,” Steve Smith, NorthShore CIO, said in a statement.  “Their dedication and commitment to working together and improving the safety and quality of care for our patients makes NorthShore unique.”

In 2009, NorthShore led the nation’s hospital systems in being the first to receive HIMSS Analytics’ Stage 7 award for completely incorporating the EMR system in all four of its hospitals. 

Developed in 2011, HIMSS’ Ambulatory EMR Adoption Model (A-EMRAM) provides a methodology for evaluating the progress and impact of EMRs for ambulatory facilities within hospitals in the HIMSS Analytics database.  These facilities include physician practices, clinics, outpatient centers and specialty clinics.  They are tracked in their progress in completing eight stages (0-7); Stage 7 represents an advanced electronic patient record environment.

Stage 7 ambulatory facilities:

  • Deliver patient care without the use of paper charts.
  • Use their EMR and patient portal to drive patient engagement, and thus, improved health status through better health maintenance.
  • Use their vast database of clinical information and evidence based practice guidance to improve outcomes using business intelligence solutions.
  • Are able to share patient information through private and public health information exchanges (HIE), which improves communications and speeds up appropriate care delivery.

The validation process confirms ambulatory facilities have reached Stage 7 with a site visit conducted by an executive from HIMSS Analytics and a Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) with ambulatory deployment experience to ensure an unbiased evaluation of the Stage 7 environments.  Visiting a representative ambulatory clinic or clinics that deployed the same EMR applications and software, the validation team conducts both a comprehensive system overview and an analytics review to ensure improved health status indicators and understanding of the effectiveness of their patient engagement strategy.

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