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CIHQ Interviews Prista Founders

Prista's Founders, Don Jarrell and Billie Anne Schoppman were interviewed recently by Michelle Shaffer, Director of Business/Program Development at the Center for Improvement in Healthcare Quality (CIHQ).

Interview topics range from Don and Billie Anne's background, how they teamed up to create Prista's innovative product, ActionCue Clinical Intelligence, what makes ActionCue CI different, and how hospitals and facilities have benefitted through their 11 years in business.

CIHQ is a membership-based organization comprised primarily of acute care and critical access hospitals whose mission is to create a regulatory environment that enables healthcare organizations to effectively deliver safe, quality patient care. CIHQ is a CMS-Approved Accrediting Organization.

Prista is proud to be a CIHQ Partner.

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Prista Corporation’s ActionCue® Clinical Intelligence is a new Endorsed Partner by Texas’s TORCH Management Services, Inc. (TMSI)


TMSI EndorsedPrista Corporation, maker of ActionCue® Clinical Intelligence, a software platform for healthcare quality-safety and performance improvement is now an Endorsed Partner of TMSI, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals (TORCH).

Prista Corporation, an industry leader in clinical intelligence software for healthcare quality-safety and performance improvement, is proud to announce their latest endorsement – that of TORCH Management Services, Inc.

“Over the past 12 years, Prista has successfully deployed ActionCue CI to many hospitals in 33 states – including 25 in Texas alone. Gaining this important endorsement from TMSI further validates the key role ActionCue CI plays in facilitating continuous performance improvement in patient care and safety by providing actionable insights in real-time to healthcare leaders and their staffs. We look forward to working with TMSI/TORCH members to bring ActionCue CI to bear on solving their challenges,” said Don Jarrell, President of Prista Corporation.

“TMSI is pleased to welcome Prista Corporation as an Endorsed Partner,” said Vicki Pascasio, FACHE, President of TMSI.  Ms. Pascasio continued, “This endorsement recognizes that Prista’s ActionCue CI platform can assist our TORCH member hospitals in achieving their goals while adhering to excellent standards.  Like all our Endorsed Partners, Prista has gone through a thorough vetting process.”

About Prista Corporation: Prista’s mission is to help healthcare providers create and sustain a “Culture of Quality” in their organizations. In other words, an environment that drives continuous performance improvement in patient care and safety. Prista does this by developing innovative, intuitive, easy-to-use software that goes beyond traditional reporting to provide actionable insights in real-time. With Prista’s ActionCue CI platform, information is more readily available, more meaningful, and more actionably insightful for healthcare executives, managers, and clinical staff.

About TMSI: TORCH Management Services, Inc. is a subsidiary of the Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals (TORCH) created for the purpose of having an organization that could engage with services on behalf of the TORCH membership.  TMSI provides value-added services to rural healthcare organizations, thereby enhancing their opportunities for success.

About TORCH: The Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals envisions rural Texas as having access to the highest quality health care.  To accomplish this, TORCH’s mission is to be the voice and principal advocate for rural and community hospitals in Texas and to provide leadership in addressing the special needs and issues of these hospitals. For more information, visit

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Goodbye Hamster Wheel, Hello Common Sense


Patient care quality and safety improvements happen on the job, not in meeting rooms. Yet the quest for improvement in many hospitals today takes place in classrooms, where the focus is more on the methodology than on patients and the delivery of care. Furthermore, the intense methodologies are too often a giant step backward for staff in terms of productive, time-efficient use of information.

The need to improve patient care quality and safety has been an item on the hospital executive agenda since the 1999 publication of “To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System” by the Institute of Medicine.  There has been some improvement over the past 16 years: The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) summary report shows some increase in overall hospital rating across the whole U.S. from 64 out of 100 in 2007 to 71 out of 100 in 2013 and 2014 (71 out of 100), with results for part of 2015 remaining at 71.

Judging by the large number of high-cost consultant engagements by hospitals across the country, quality and safety improvements are still high priorities for hospitals.  Additionally, there seems to be an assumption in the executive suite that management and staff don’t have the ability to improve patient care quality and safety themselves, that there must be something added in terms of knowledge, skills or processes that will end up producing the desired results.

Each consultancy claiming a specialty in this area has a proprietary approach, a methodology or a process (or all three) for getting staff on the right track.  The focus is on cognitive behavior change and the communication of concepts and values that staff need to assimilate into their work routines. Staff must leave their daily work to attend seminars or take classes that are meant to improve patients’ perception of the in-hospital experience. The activities that are part of these methodologies do not incorporate technology as a useful or time-saving tool. If anything, they prevent staff from implementing technology that really could make the difference the hospital seeks.

In spite of sizable investment of money and staff time in the various methodologies offered by consultants to improve quality and safety, the HCAHPS score has not significantly changed over the past few years.  More importantly, the scores of actual clinical performance have similarly changed little. Yet the consultants are still going strong.  Why? Most likely because once a company has invested significant resources in a third party methodology, it wants to stick it out in order to get a return. If it’s not working, the perceived solution often is to dedicate more resources to add further services. This produces a “hamster wheel” situation where, whether things are working or not, the company continues to retain the consultancy for more, better and different solutions and continues to take staff away from the very activities that could make the desired improvements.

The way for a hospital to see significant and sustained improvement in patient care quality and safety is to get off the hamster wheel. Rather than writing big checks to companies that take the staff off the floor and that focus on a return to paper management and on changing what is in the heads of the staff, hospital executives need to invest in ways to consistently provide staff with the up-to-date, easily accessed, high-value  information – knowledge and insight, as opposed to basic data.  This enables the staff to make the best decisions for their patients—every day.

Cut losses, stop spending more money on third party “solutions” that involve more work hours you have to pay for (and that aren’t working) and put common sense into play. Keep the staff out on the floor and give them technology, training and modern processes that infuse quality and safety into every activity, task and patient interaction.


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CEO Brings ActionCue to Pecos County Memorial Hospital

Change in leadership can bring positive changes in processes and systems. ActionCue is part of such change at Pecos County Memorial Hospital in Fort Stockton, Texas. Jim Koulavatos, the current CEO, was an advocate and active user of ActionCue as CEO of Liberty Dayton Regional Medical Center. “I know how valuable ActionCue has been to me and the organization,” he said, “so I wanted to bring it to Pecos County.”
Pecos County Memorial Hospital is a general medical and surgical hospital in Fort Stockton, TX, with 27 beds. The hospital provides general medical and surgical care for inpatient, outpatient, and emergency room patients, and participates in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Emergency room services are available on a 24-hour per day, seven-day per week basis.


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The Partnership Continues: NeuroMedical Center Rehabilitation Hospital, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Change of ownership can often mean a change of processes and systems, but not in this case. NeuroMedical Center Rehabilitation Hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana has been a member of the ActionCue team for four years, and will stay on the team under its new ownership. Elizabeth Wilson, CEO, was clear about this, saying “We love ActionCue and we definitely want to keep it.”
The NeuroMedical Center boasts the region’s largest group of experts for the brain, spine and nervous system. Their collective expertise greatly benefits those who seek diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation for neurological conditions and spinal complications. The building today houses The NeuroMedical Center Clinic, The Spine Hospital of Louisiana at The NeuroMedical Center and The NeuroMedical Center Rehabilitation Hospital.

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