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St. Luke’s University Health Network Reducing ER Visits and Hospital Admissions by High Utilizers of Care

St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) has been recognized as a 2021 HIMSS Davies Award winner. SLUHN is the only health system in Pennsylvania to have been selected as a Davies Award winner a second time.

SLUHN has reduced emergency room visits and hospital admissions by high utilizers of care. Using artificial intelligence, alerts and revised clinical workflows, SLUHN created a high utilizer care plan (HUCP) group to oversee the unique population of patients who are high utilizers of care.

For the high utilizer patient population, SLUHN reduced emergency department visits from 443 in 2019 to 266 in 2020; it reduced inpatient admissions from 214 to 118 and cut imaging orders in half.

In addition, SLUHN established a network-wide pneumonia treatment guideline, enabled through an automated order set within all physicians’ clinical workflows. After implementing the protocol, SLUHN observed a 35 percent reduction in the mortality for pneumonia patients. Readmissions for pneumonia patients dropped 26 percent, resulting in a cost savings of $6,370,561 in two years.

Finally, SLUHN implemented effective virtual cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety, stress and depression through the SilverCloud Initiative. More than 2,900 SLUHN employees have utilized SilverCloud to receive virtual behavioral health therapy. Since the launch of the program, SLUHN has observed significant reductions in symptoms of depression and general anxiety disorder. This program was particularly beneficial in helping frontline workers manage stress levels during the pandemic.