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Parkland announces launch of Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation

The Center’s work focuses on predicting adverse clinical events before they happen

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Posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 12:00 pm

DALLAS - Parkland Health & Hospital System announced today the formation of the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI), an affiliated non-profit research and development corporation, which specializes in the development of software that helps clinicians predict patient problems before they occur.

Ruben Amarasingham, MD, a pioneering health services researcher and clinical quality improvement expert, has been named President and CEO of PCCI. With the development of the PIECES™ software system, he and his team have been instrumental in reducing hospital readmission rates for heart failure at Parkland.

“This is an historic moment at Parkland about which we are very proud. The software was developed here, is being applied here, and we’re already seeing results,” said Debbie Branson, chair of Parkland’s Board of Managers. “We’ve also heard from other healthcare organizations that want to apply what Dr. Amarasingham and his team have developed. We are most fortunate to have their strong commitment to Parkland and its patients.”

PIECES is a clinical decision support software system that reviews electronic health records, “reads” physician’s notes, analyzes and assesses data, and helps the clinician identify patients that are potentially at high risk for an adverse event. This software offers a valuable portrait of patient risk that can be considered along with other factors by clinical decision makers.

“This doesn’t replace physician or nurse judgment, but it does provide some additional real-time advice and context that may be otherwise overlooked,” said Dr. Amarasingham.

In an environment where hospitals are subject to penalties for readmissions, the work of the PCCI has the potential to impact hospitals’ efforts in this area. This year, Parkland’s readmission penalty rates from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services were ten times below the national average of similar safety-net hospitals.

“I am proud of the team we have assembled and the work we have done,” said Dr. Amarasingham. “We believe PIECES could have broad quality and safety applications at Parkland and beyond.”

The development of PIECES and other research has been funded by more than $4.5 million in competitive grant awards from institutions that include the National Institutes of Health, The National Cancer Institute, and the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation of the Communities Foundation of Texas. Grants from The Commonwealth Fund and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, in particular, are designed to make PIECES available to other U.S. hospitals.

“The Commonwealth Fund has helped to support Dr. Amarasingham’s work for the last seven years, and the creation of the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation represents a unique opportunity to spread his team’s novel and cutting-edge knowledge and tools across U.S. health systems,” said Anne-Marie Audet, MD, Vice President for Health System Quality and Efficiency at The Commonwealth Fund. “The potential benefits of this work to U.S. health care are significant and align with the Fund’s mission to catalyze change and innovations toward a high performance health system.”

On September 25, the PCCI added to its board two nationally renowned health care experts: Neil Powe, MD, MPH, MBA, Chief of Medical Services at San Francisco General Hospital and the Constance B. Wofsy Distinguished Professor and Vice-Chair of Medicine, University of

California San Francisco; and George Bo-Linn, MD, MHA, FACP Chief Program Officer for the Patient Care Program and the San Francisco Bay Area Portfolio for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

The PCCI was recently asked by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to advise the Pioneer Accountable Care Organizations (ACO). Texas Health Resources, one of the nation’s largest faith-based, nonprofit health systems, is collaborating with North Texas Specialty Physicians on one of the 32 Pioneer ACOs.

“Texas Health Resources has benefitted from its collaboration with Dr. Amarasingham and his colleagues at the Center for Clinical Innovation, especially in the areas of health services and clinical informatics research,” said Ferdinand Velasco, MD, Vice President and Chief Health Information Officer of Texas Health Resources. “We look forward to continuing and expanding our collaboration with the Center as it transitions to this important stage of its growth and development.”

About PCCI

The Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation is a non-profit research and development corporation in Dallas, TX that specializes in real-time predictive and surveillance analytics for health care. We support Parkland Health & Hospital System through our research, development, application, and delivery of innovative information technologies that advance the quality and safety of patient care. Our applied research and software approach has resulted in the development of clinical prediction models that assess patient demographic and clinical characteristics in real-time. Our mission is to produce the best possible outcomes for patients in Dallas County and across the nation by leveraging the latest methods in statistics and applied mathematics, epidemiology, clinical quality improvement, and scalable information technologies. We seek to transform the delivery of health care by developing cutting edge software and analytic methods to improve quality and safety of patient care at t he individual and population levels.

To learn more about the PCCI, please visit:

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