Stanford Medicine wins HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence

Stanford Medicine receives a prestigious honor for its use of technology to improve patient care.

- By Christina Hendry

Stanford Medicine received the award for, among other factors: virtual visits in the emergency department, innovations in advanced care planning and artificial intelligence to predict which patients are at risk of deteriorating.
Kevin Meynell Photography

Stanford Medicine has been awarded the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s Davies Award of Excellence for its outstanding leadership in using information and technology to improve health care.

The award was based on Stanford Medicine’s submission of three case studies highlighting investments in health information technology to enhance patient safety, quality of care and operational efficiency. These included making enhancements to Stanford Medicine’s electronic health record system, incorporating validated models of artificial intelligence and machine learning into clinical decision support systems, and deploying virtual care in new patient settings to enhance the delivery of care to patients.

Based on the submission, Stanford Medicine was selected as a finalist for the award, which included a site visit from HIMSS to review the case studies. The submission and visit were led by David Entwistle, president and CEO of Stanford Health Care; Michael Pfeffer, MD, chief information officer; Christopher Sharp, MD, chief medical information officer; and Gretchen Brown, chief nursing information officer, along with Stanford Medicine’s clinical and IT champions from each case study specialty area.

“Health information technology provides powerful tools for enhancing clinical decision making, streamlining processes and ultimately improving patient outcomes,” said David Entwistle, president and CEO of Stanford Health Care. “We are honored to achieve this prestigious recognition and be counted among health system leaders leveraging these innovations to support high-quality, compassionate care and elevate the health of our patients and communities.”

The following initiatives were highlighted as part of the submission:

  • In 2020, Stanford Medicine converted the existing fast track care unit in the adult and pediatric emergency departments into a virtual visit track to accelerate the evaluation of lower acuity patients in multiple EDs. The VVT model enables a remote physician to support more patients, while the patient still has access to laboratory, radiology, specialty care consultations and nursing services. Based on a study of the first 11 months of the program, the median wait time was reduced by 47%, there were fewer 72-hour return visits, and both patients and VVT physicians provided positive feedback. 

  • Advanced care planning is an important, but often underused tool for patients with serious illnesses. ACP helps patients understand and share their goals, values and preferences, which allows them to receive medical care consistent with those values, especially during serious illness. Stanford Medicine enabled increased advanced care planning in inpatient, oncology and primary care settings through a multi-pronged approach encompassing novel digital innovations, human-centered workflows and analytics. Since launching this initiative, ACP documentation and conversations have steadily and significantly increased.

  • Stanford Health Care patients at risk for deterioration are typically cared for by multi-person care teams and require assessments of large amounts of data that change, presenting challenges to the care team. Stanford Medicine launched a pilot, using a defined AI model, to identify patients with clinical deterioration so the care team can proactively intervene. As a result of the pilot, there was a 20% reduction in clinical deterioration events as well as positive survey feedback from participating nursing staff. 

The award signifies that Stanford Medicine has leveraged information technology to make an impact on the lives of patients — whether reducing wait times, improving quality of care, facilitating critical conversations or preventing clinical deterioration events.

“Achieving the HIMSS Davies Award is such an honor, as it reflects the successful partnerships throughout Stanford Health Care that enable health information technology to transform patient care,” Pfeffer said. “I am so proud of the professionals in our health information technology organization that push the boundaries of IT through collaborative and creative thinking and dedication to our mission.”

Stanford Children's Health garnered the Davies award in 2017. 

About Stanford Medicine

Stanford Medicine is an integrated academic health system comprising the Stanford School of Medicine and adult and pediatric health care delivery systems. Together, they harness the full potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education and clinical care for patients. For more information, please visit

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