December 14, 2017

Achievements, accolades highlight past year at VUMC

The following is a roundup of the news that made headlines at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2017.

Editor’s note — the following is a roundup of the news that made headlines at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2017.


Epic transition

On Nov. 2, VUMC flipped the switch on its new computer system, called eStar, which supports the health system’s electronic health records, workflows for inpatient and outpatient care delivery, test ordering, billing and other hospital and clinic operations.

EpicLeap, the name given to the two-year project to switch to the new system, affects some 18,000 Medical Center employees who work in the health system, as well as VUMC’s patients who use the My Health at Vanderbilt web portal to communicate with clinicians regarding their care.


CTSA renewal

VUMC successfully competed for a second renewal of its Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The grant will provide nearly $46 million for another five years to support the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR) and its efforts to speed the translation of scientific discoveries from the laboratory bench to the patient’s bedside.

Nearly 60 medical research institutions in 31 states and the District of Columbia receive CTSA funding through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, part of the NIH. Members of the national CTSA consortium are called “hubs.”


Magnet designation

VUMC received its third consecutive Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

The announcement was the culmination of an intensive appraisal process that lasted more than three years and involved nurses and staff in all areas of Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital and The Vanderbilt Clinic.

The ANCC’s Magnet designation is the highest honor an organization can receive for the provision of nursing care and inter-professional collaboration. Only about 6 to 7 percent of hospitals have the distinction, and Vanderbilt has previously received it in 2006 and 2012. No other hospital system in Middle Tennessee has achieved Magnet designation.


Celebrating employees

VUMC’s biggest asset — the 22,000 employees who through everything they do touch the lives of millions of patients and their families each year — were honored at April’s “Celebrate the Difference YOU Make Every Day.”

Thousands attended the celebratory event, held in three sessions over two days at Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gymnasium, and hundreds more served as volunteers and executive greeters.


ECMO on the go

VUMC became the only adult program in Tennessee with a mobile team that can initiate Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) on patients transported to the Medical Center by its ambulances.

ECMO technology provides temporary emergency mechanical support for critically ill patients to support heart and lung functions. External pumps and oxygenators remove carbon dioxide from the blood, replace it with life-saving oxygen and then return it to the patient’s circulatory system. The machine does the work for both sets of organs, allowing them to rest.


NIH funding rises

VUSM ranked No. 8 in the nation among U.S. medical schools in total grant support provided through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The new ranking raises VUSM’s standing two spots from the No. 10 position it held last year.

Receiving $340,049,796 in total NIH grant support during calendar year 2016, VUSM finished the year with an additional $48,854,269 in funding over its 2015 total.


Building the Bridge

Improvements in how patients’ preventive healthcare needs are identified, documented and tracked began being implemented at VUMC through an initiative called Bridge, the aim of which is to increase the ability of both VUMC and the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network to deliver care in a more cohesive manner rather than as a series of individual encounters.

Bridge is designed to keep clinicians informed about their progress toward meeting specific patient care quality measures as healthcare in the United States moves toward a greater focus on health promotion and clinical effectiveness.


Walgreens, VUMC team

Walgreens and VUMC announced that a subsidiary of VUMC will operate and provide all clinical services at 14 retail health clinics within Walgreens stores across Middle Tennessee.

The announcement builds upon the continued relationship between Walgreens and Vanderbilt Health, which has included infusion services provided throughout the Middle Tennessee market and Walgreens pharmacy participation in VUMC’s clinically integrated network. The clinics will be known as Vanderbilt Health Clinic at Walgreens.


Generating ideas

This summer, IdeaShare, an interactive tool to share ideas among groups of people, and to vote about which ideas employees like best, was opened to everyone at VUMC.

Employees accessed IdeaShare on desktop or mobile at at

Through June 20, IdeaShare allowed everyone to share ideas on four themes: how people can communicate better with each other at the Medical Center, how we can connect with each other around topics that excite us, how we can quickly respond to challenges we face, and how we might change our employee benefits.


Virtual care for Kentucky children

In a first-of-its-kind collaboration for both parties, schools in Allen County, Kentucky, teamed with Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt so sick children can receive a more comprehensive array of healthcare services while attending school through virtual visits with Vanderbilt clinicians.

Through a school-based telemedicine program, nurses with the Allen County Health Department who practice in the county’s four schools in Scottsville, Kentucky, will work with nurse practitioners and pediatricians in Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Primary Care Clinic. They will care for the county’s 3,000-plus students who have certain conditions typically requiring a trip to a pediatrician’s office.


Pediatric trauma care recognized

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Committee on Trauma verified Children’s Hospital as a Level I pediatric trauma center, recognizing the hospital’s commitment to provide the highest level of care for injured pediatric patients.

As a regional comprehensive pediatric facility, Children’s Hospital is the only Level I pediatric trauma center within 150 miles.

The ACS Committee on Trauma also recertified the Vanderbilt Trauma Center with its Level 1 ranking. The country’s leading surgical care organization first bestowed its highest stamp of approval on the Trauma Center in 2014, and renewed this designation following a recent site visit.

The ACS is considered the country’s leading surgical care organization, which seeks to improve the quality of care for surgical patients.


StrategyShare17 debuts

More than 250 attendees representing a multidisciplinary cross-section of Vanderbilt gathered in July for StrategyShare17, a half-day, interactive event to forge new connections with others. They learned about innovation taking place across the VUMC’s campus through a series of TED Talk-style presentations, “Power Pitches” and poster sharing, as well as mission moments that showcased personal stories of success.


Human Immunome Program

The Human Vaccines Project and VUMC joined forces with Illumina Inc. to decipher the human immunome, the genetic underpinnings of the immune system.

Illumina will provide the genetic sequencing technologies and expertise required to process the massive amounts of data required to decode the human immunome.

A core initiative of the Human Vaccines Project is the Human Immunome Program, an internationally led effort by VUMC to determine key principles of how the human immune system prevents and controls disease by illuminating the complete set of genes and molecular structures known as the human immunome.


Immunology, inflammation institute

VUMC launched a new institute to coordinate initiatives among the rapidly evolving disciplines of infection biology, immunology and inflammatory diseases.

The Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation — VI4 for short — will be headquartered in facilities at the Medical Center and will serve the entire Vanderbilt community.

The new institute will pursue a trans-institutional approach that leverages knowledge from across the Vanderbilt campus for research and training programs that seek a more comprehensive understanding of the human immune system.


Children’s Hospital ED adds rooms

Children’s Hospital added seven new rooms to its Emergency Department (ED) to help increase the speed with which the team assesses and treats pediatric patients for minor emergencies.

The new ED space, which debuted in May, includes six exam rooms — similar in appearance to regular clinic exam rooms — and one room for uncomplicated procedures/observation.


New Emergency Operations Center

VUMC opened a new 1,200-square-foot Emergency Operations Center (EOC) with large LED monitors and a slew of telephones. The monitors are for viewing things like the patient census in emergency departments and VUMC hospitals and weather system images.

“This will be the central hub for managing VUMC’s response to any big disaster,” said Jeff Mangrum, RN, director of Emergency Preparedness for VUMC.

The center opened in mid March, located beneath Langford Auditorium, in room 1008 of Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital. It was formerly located in Medical Center North.


Hidden Figures

In October, VUMC’s Office for Diversity Affairs held the inaugural “Hidden VUMC Figures” event, a tribute to employees who have made significant long-term, often behind-the-scenes, contributions to the Medical Center.

The initial honorees were James Phillips Sr., Audrey Hall, Dru Bratton-Newsom and Howard Price.


Diabetes research bolstered

The Vanderbilt Diabetes Research and Training Center (VDRTC) celebrated its 44th year of operation with a five-year competitive renewal of its $9 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


VDDRC grant renewed

The Vanderbilt Digestive Disease Research Center (VDDRC) celebrated its 15th anniversary this year with a third consecutive five-year renewal of its federal research grant.

The center, which includes 84 faculty investigators from 14 different departments, will be supported through June 2022 with a $3.75 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


Liver transplant program honored

VUMC is among the top hospitals in the United States performing liver transplants, according to a report published in the American Journal of Transplantation.

Vanderbilt performed 149 adult liver transplants between July 2015 and June 2016 (FY16). The volume ranked the center at No. 5 in the nation, according to the study, which is based on data released by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR).


Heart transplant volumes up

VUMC is home to the second busiest heart transplant program in the country, according to the most recent data released by the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN).

Ranked No. 1 in the Southeast region for volume for its combined adult and pediatric procedures, this marked the second consecutive year that VUMC’s program held its national ranking. In 2016, the program performed a record 77 adult heart transplants. The overall program, which includes pediatric cases, saw a record 92 transplantations that year.


Children’s Hospital construction on pace

Construction continued on Children’s Hospital’s expansion project. The additional four floors will provide the necessary square footage to meet the future healthcare needs of children and families from Tennessee, the surrounding region and across the nation.

Once fully completed, all four floors of new construction will add 160,000 square feet of additional space atop the hospital’s existing structure, bringing Children’s Hospital’s total footprint to more than 1 million square feet.


Diagnosing bloodstream infections

Vanderbilt Clinical Laboratories introduced rapid molecular diagnostic testing to more quickly identify microorganisms that may be causing a patient’s bloodstream infection, along with the organism’s susceptibility to drugs.

When a patient has a bloodstream infection, in most cases a blood culture will test positive within 12 to 48 hours. For all positive blood cultures, further testing is undertaken to identify the organism and its drug susceptibility.

This further testing takes two to three days and involves exposing the cultured organism to multiple drug compounds, to see which ones might be effective.


Pediatric Hypertension program lauded

Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) program earned the top level of accreditation from the national Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA).

Children’s Hospital’s PH program is now designated a Pulmonary Hypertension Comprehensive Care Center, making it one of only seven pediatric programs in the country to hold this distinction and the only program in the Southeastern United States.