September 15, 2009 11:32 ET

VHA Inc. Names Gundersen Lutheran Health System a Leading Practice Hospital for Medication Reconciliation

IRVING, TX--(Marketwire - September 15, 2009) - VHA Inc., a national health care network, has recognized Gundersen Lutheran Health System in La Crosse, Wis., as a leading performer in the patient management activity of medication reconciliation. Medication reconciliation is the important patient safety practice of ensuring that patient medications are properly reviewed and managed upon transfer within a hospital or prior to hospital discharge.

As a leading performer in medication reconciliation, Gundersen Lutheran Health System agreed to share its knowledge of medication reconciliation with over 1,400 hospitals across the VHA network. Gundersen Lutheran Health System worked with VHA clinical experts to develop a Web-enabled design package, known as the VHA Leading Practice Blueprint™, which enables the adoption of this practice in other hospitals across the country.

"Gundersen Lutheran's efforts in medication reconciliation represent a commitment to doing the best for patient safety," said Trent Haywood, MD, JD, chief medical officer at VHA. "By sharing their knowledge, patients across the country will benefit. The Blueprints are really gifts that hospitals are giving to each other and the patients they serve."

A team of VHA clinical experts visited the organization in March 2009 to study and document the clinical processes being followed to reconcile medications for their patients in their Clinical Workstation System, the hospital's home-grown electronic medical record. The work on the medication reconciliation process, in Clinical Workstation, has proven to be the most effective and efficient way to care for patients. This best practice is currently being integrated into the hospital's electronic documentation database.

The VHA clinical team collaborated with the hospital team to develop a blueprint that mapped out each step in the care process, ensuring that the blueprint included transferable knowledge and practice patterns so that other hospitals can implement the plan. They focused not only on the processes but also the cultural factors that influence performance.

"We're honored to be recognized by VHA for our efforts to improve the quality and safety of care we provide our patients," said Brian Mulrennan, MD, Infectious Disease and Wound Management, at Gundersen Lutheran Health System. "Our medical, nursing, and pharmacy staff are devoted to giving our patients the very best care and it's gratifying to know that hospitals around the nation will be able to implement the strategies we've developed."

"We know that our blueprinted medication reconciliation process ensures each patient's medication has been addressed, which increases our patient's safety by reducing the risk of medication errors in transitions of care," said Kim Weber-Chandler, BSN, patient safety coordinator at Gundersen Lutheran Health System.

VHA disseminates its Leading Practice Blueprints to its more than 1,400 member hospitals nationwide via its Leading Practices Portal™ and encourages members to incorporate the blueprints into their patient care patterns.

About VHA - VHA Inc., based in Irving, Texas, is a national network of not-for-profit health care organizations that work together to drive maximum savings in the supply chain arena, set new levels of clinical performance, and identify and implement best practices to improve operational efficiency and clinical outcomes. Formed in 1977, VHA serves more than 1,400 hospitals and more than 24,000 non-acute care providers nationwide.

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