Best Hospital IT 2016: Ochsner innovates with remote blood pressure monitoring and EHR integration

Best Hospital IT 2016: The Louisiana health system is inspiring patients to take charge of their health with cutting-edge technologies
07:52 AM
Best Hospital IT 2016: Ochsner Health System

Best Hospital IT 2016: #2 Super Hospital
Ochsner Health System, Louisiana
IT Staff: 249
Overall Score: 62.25%

Ochsner Health System in Louisiana has been using sophisticated analytics since the 1990’s and CIO Laura Wilt said that the advent of predictive and prescriptive analytics will enable the network to transform data into actionable information.

To that end, Ochsner today has multiple cutting-edge technology projects of the sort that tend to delight IT professionals, many with patients at the center and most involving clinicians as well.

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“We’re really focused on the patient in general and keeping the patient at the center of things, whether that’s patient engagement projects or patient experience projects,” Wilt said. “It’s all about communication and coordination.”

Wilt pointed to the Innovation Center at Ochsner’s multi-faceted digital medicine program as being among staffers favorite internal partnerships.

The program, for which patients have already enrolled 1,000 patients, focused on hypertension initially and will be expanding to include other chronic diseases.

Participants receive a wireless blood pressure cuff that uses their smartphone to upload readings every day. A team of pharmacists and health coaches monitor the results. 

“We’ve partnered with them from an IT perspective in order to make some of those things happen,” Wilt said. “We integrate all of that into the electronic medical record, so the physicians are updated as well.”

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The program launched more than a year ago. It started connecting the blood pressure cuff to the Ochsner’s Epic EMR. The IT team worked with Epic to make sure the blood pressure readings were indeed coming into the EMR.

There was also an IT team devoted to the text-messaging piece to deliver reminders to patients in the program. It required a lot of programming, Wilt said, including integrating otherwise disparate data sources.

Ochsner also launched a similar program for OBGYN called Connected Mom. It makes it possible for patients with low-risk pregnancies to send key information such as blood pressure reading, at home tests for protein and weight to the OBGYN, making it possible to eliminate four office visits, reducing the typical 13 visits to nine per pregnancy.

“We’re so much more mobile and digital,” she said. “The patients are really involved and feel they have more insight into their care.”

Teamwork and collaboration were always critical, Wilt noted, adding that they are even more important today.

“There aren’t projects that are just software applications or just technology, or just one part of the IS organization,” Wilt said. “All of the projects are really crossing over.”

And that crossover, in addition to the opportunity to work with so many exciting and forward-looking technologies, is critical to keeping IT pros engaged.


Workplace culture was one of 87 questions senior executives (CIO, CMIOs, etc.), directors of IT, clinical and systems analysts, technicians, help desk staff and others responded to on our survey.

Overall Ranking

Question Very dissatisfied or Disagree completely Dissatisfied or Disagree Neutral Satisfied or Agree Very satisfied or Agree completely
Question Very dissatisfied or Disagree completely Dissatisfied or Disagree Neutral Satisfied or Agree Very satisfied or Agree completely
How satisfied you are working for the IT department at this organization? 4.5% 2.5% 1.6% 23.4% 68.0%
How satisfied are you with your job and elements of your day-to-day work? 1.7% 2.6% 3.5% 26.5% 65.7%
How satisfied are you with your immediate work unit, team or IT department group? 0.9% 1.8% 2.7% 22.7% 72.0%
How satisfied are you with your direct supervisor, manager or group head, the person you report to directly? 2.3% 1.8% 2.7% 23.2% 70.0%
How satisfied are you with the senior management and leadership of your organization? 2.3% 2.3% 5.9% 34.7% 54.8%
How satisfied are you with the workplace culture in this organization? 0.9% 1.8% 3.2% 29.4% 64.7%
How satisfied are you with training, professional development and advancement in this organization? 0.9% 4.2% 9.7% 35.6% 49.5%
How satisfied are you with compensation, benefits and employee recognition at this organization? 1.4% 2.3% 15.9% 37.4% 43.0%
I plan to continue my career with this organization. 0.5% 1.4% 4.2% 28.5% 65.4%
I would recommend employment here to a friend. 0.0% 0.5% 5.6% 22.4% 71.5%


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