University Health Care System
(706) 722-9011


University Receives Pinnacle Award
from McKesson Corp.
December 14, 2011

December 13, 2011

Media contact: Erica C. Cline 706.828-2225


Augusta, Ga. – University Hospital has earned the Pinnacle Award from McKesson Corp. for its effective use of McKesson technology that focuses on care for patients with congestive heart failure.

The Pinnacle Award was given through a McKesson Corp.-sponsored competition to identify effective uses of its technology services – especially the use of telemonitoring for educational purposes. Among the hundreds of responses, University submission received the highest recognition.

According to Heidi Nelson, University Hospital’s director of Performance Improvement, University has worked diligently to reduce the rate of readmission for congestive heart patients.

“Congestive heart failure is a leading reason for hospital admission among Medicare patients,” she said. “Like other chronic diseases, it can have devastating clinical, financial and quality-of-life consequences if not appropriately managed.”

That is why University created the work group Stay Out of the Hospital (SOOTH) in mid-2010 and worked with others, including more than 252 hospitals nationwide, in Project RED (Re-Engineered Discharge) to help CHF patients who met the following criteria:

  • Patients with systolic and diastolic dysfunction
  • Hospital stay on third or fourth floor of University’s Heart and Vascular Institute
    • Heart Failure is admitting diagnosis
    • Patients with aortic stenosis are excluded
    • Patients with impaired cognition are excluded
    • Patients discharged to skilled nursing facilities are excluded

Through Project RED, University was able to set goals for the hospital in regards to CHF patients, including:

  • Decrease the number of ED visits
  • Decrease the length of stay for inpatient visits
  • Decrease the number of less-than-30-day readmission rate
  • Financial savings for the organization

As a result of this initiative, University saw an impressive 61 percent reduction in readmissions for Project RED patients. “The result of this project goes to show the importance of developing a stringent patient care plan that include nurse practitioner clinic visits, telemonitoring for education and lifestyle modification,” Ms. Nelson said. “All of these touch points help keep our CHF patients healthier and out of the hospital.”



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1350 Walton Way, Augusta, Georgia
(706) 722-9011