Which Hospitals Are the 'Most Wired'?

Posted July 15, 2014

Results from a survey to find the most wired hospitals in the United States show that many facilities increasingly are using information technology (IT) to connect and share patient data with specialists and other care providers, according to Hospitals & Health Networks (H&HN) magazine.

Each year H&HN, a publication of the American Hospital Association (AHA), cosponsors a survey to find the most wired hospitals. The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), AT&T, McKesson, and CareTechSolutions also sponsor the survey.

The “Healthcare's Most Wired List” (PDF) includes a range of facilities—from hospitals with as few as eight beds, to multicenter health systems that can treat thousands. A record number of survey responses 680, were submitted in the 16th annual survey, representing 1,900 hospitals. To make the list, organizations had to meet criteria in four categories: infrastructure, business and administrative management, clinical quality and safety, and clinical integration. According to the cover story in July’s H&HN, 375 organizations met all of the most wired criteria.

The most wired organizations demonstrate a strong commitment to quality and safety assurance, according to the article. For example, nurses and doctors share best practices for patient safety and use checklists in 90% of the most wired organizations. There is also increased use of barcode technology at the bedside to match patient, nurse, and order at these facilities—up from 23% in 2005 to 81% in 2014.

Many facilities also are using social media and mobile applications to communicate with patients. According to the survey, 35% of most wired organizations use social media to deliver care management messages, while 40% utilize mobile applications.

One organization that has recognized this trend is Ochsner Health System in New Orleans, LA. The cover story highlights Ochsner’s efforts, which include a mobile-friendly program that helps patients download health apps.

“We understand that everything is becoming more mobile and more tech-oriented,” said Warner Thomas, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the health system, in the H&HN article. “Instead of fighting that, we are embracing it.”

“Healthcare professionals need to be free to communicate virtually across teams and to patients,” said Tad Reynes, regional vice president, AT&T Business Solutions, in a prepared statement. “Providing tools to do so can potentially reduce costs, simplify workflows, improve patient care and offer a better experience to users.”

Russell Branzell, president and CEO of CHIME, praised hospital leaders for their work. “Still, there is a substantial amount of work ahead. Effective C-suites view IT adoption as a collaborative effort. They have a clear strategic plan and know how IT fits into that,” he explained in a statement.

The list also salutes 20 organizations as being “Most Wired Advanced,” including Inova Health System in Falls Church, VA, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, MI.

“These 20 organizations are more sophisticated in their use of security systems. They are also able to restore their data in case of a disaster very quickly. They use business tools for processes and also for clinical systems,” said Suzanna Hoppszallern, senior editor, data and research at AHA, in a video.

Three organizations also have received awards for taking innovative approaches with IT projects: UPMC Technology Development Center in Pittsburgh, PA, for its breakthrough clinical platform for physicians; Baptist Health South Florida in South Miami, FL, for its “take your meds!” program; and Citizens Memorial Hospital, in Bolivar, MO, for its electronic whiteboard solution.