Decreasing Delirium by One-Third

Clinicians at Houston Methodist use Epic to prevent and decrease delirium in patients over 70


Because more than 2 million elderly patients in the United States experience delirium during hospital stays, Houston Methodist used advisories in Epic to reduce delirium caused by medication in patients over 70. They decreased the use of medications associated with a risk of delirium by more than 40% for these patients. Rates of delirium decreased each quarter after they implemented their initiative, showing a 37% reduction relative to the baseline, and improved screening helps nurses identify patients with delirium sooner.

When physicians order medications for elderly patients, they see tailored alternatives that don’t increase risk of delirium. If a physician places an order for a medication with a risk of delirium for a geriatric patient, she sees a drug precaution warning.

In addition, nurses screen patients for delirium and are prompted to initiate fall prevention practices and a delirium care plan if a patient shows early signs of delirium.

Houston Methodist was awarded the Award for Excellence in Medication-Use Safety for their work reducing delirium.

Read more in ASHP Foundation Awards.