Case Study: Smart Ribbon


Working Smarter to Improve Care and Reduce Costs

The Challenge

Overutilization and coordination among providers are challenges to most hospital systems. When unnecessary tests, procedures or medications are ordered, it is costly to the hospital and detrimental to the patient experience.


A provider’s time with each patient is limited. So in order to provide the best care possible, Houston Methodist Center for Innovation looked at ways to cut overutilization and deepen the provider’s understanding of each patient — without overloading the already dense profile contained in a patient’s medical record. 

The Solution

Houston Methodist’s stable core of EPIC allows the Center for Innovation to push technological boundaries. Smart Ribbon®, powered by IllumiCare®, sits “on top” of EPIC and aggregates active physician and health records data to present it in an engaging but unobtrusive way.


Smart Ribbon can suggest clinical and cost efficiencies by providing patient and physician workflow data in real time. It works with local data to make pharmaceutical suggestions, including warnings on opioid use. 


Physicians are able to set their own preferences and curate information types via up or down votes. Artificial intelligence then collects the type of information that is favored by the physician. Physicians can also pause Smart Ribbon and set preferences for notifications.

The Pilot

Smart Ribbon was piloted for 90 days at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital.

The Results

During the 90-day pilot there was a measurable shift in both provider behavior and cost-savings. There was a $464,000 savings attributed to presenting providers with cost-savings data. As a result, 88% of the doctors who participated in the pilot will continue to use Smart Ribbon. The software was so intuitive, the IT department reported no tickets from physicians asking how to use it.


Due to the overwhelming success of the pilot, the technology is set to launch system-wide in 2019.