'Most Wired Hospitals' for 2010 named

By Molly Merrill
01:22 PM

The Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking study, conducted annually by Hospitals and Health Networks, has named the "Most Wired Hospitals and Health Systems" for 2010. The survey included new questions about meaningful use.

The survey recognizes organizations for their achievements in four focus areas: infrastructure, business and administrative management, clinical quality and safety and the care continuum. Hospitals were awarded under the categories of "25 Most Improved," the "25 Most Wireless" and the "25 Most Wired - Small and Rural" hospitals.

Officials say this year's survey, conducted in cooperation with the American Hospital Association, McKesson Corp. and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), included new and revised questions based on concepts of  meaningful use. Other changes included increased CIO involvement in survey development and use of a transparent scoring methodology, said officials.

According to this year's survey of nearly 1,280 hospitals, represented in 555 submitted surveys, the importance of health information technology and the benefits of its widespread adoption are understood by hospitals, but they still face significant barriers to implementation.

Continued progress for hospitals in patient safety initiatives include:

  • Fifty-one percent of medication orders were done electronically by physicians at Most Wired hospitals, up from 49 percent last year. 
  • Over half (55 percent) of Most Wired hospitals match medication orders at the bedside through bar coding or radio-frequency identification, up from 49 percent in 2009 and from 23 percent five years ago. 
  • Additionally, Most Wired hospitals have made improvements when it comes to sharing information during care transitions.  For example, new medication lists are electronically delivered to caregivers and patients 94 percent of the time when a patient is transferred within the hospital, 98 percent at discharge and 86 percent when transferred to another care setting.

The survey shows the use of electronic medical record functions is still not widespread, even with independent physicians who practice within hospitals.  For Most Wired hospitals, only 43 percent of independent physician practices have the ability to electronically document medical records, 41 percent have computerized physician order entry and 44 percent have decision support.

"The survey results highlight that continued progress is being made but the full potential of health IT has not been met," says Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association (AHA).  "Hospitals embrace health IT and recognize the many benefits it can provide to patients, but even Most Wired hospitals face barriers to adoption.  We have asked that the federal government stimulate greater adoption by making Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments more widely available to hospitals and physicians so more hospitals can move in this direction."

Gerry McCarthy, vice president of physician solutions at McKesson Corp. says providers need to be strategic about IT deployments. "You can't just start with CPOE as a first step," he says. "The best way to garner physician adoption of CPOE is to ensure that it adds immediate value to their workflow, which involves automating information across foundational care processes first, such as nursing documentation and bar-code medication administration, clinical monitoring and other features." The same type of thoughtful planning should be applied to information exchange, both with physicians and patients, he adds.

The 2010 Winners by State

St. Vincent's – Birmingham: Most Improved
University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Hospital: Most Wired and Most Wireless

Central Peninsula Hospital, Soldotna: Most Wired-Small & Rural

White River Medical Center, Batesville: Most Wired-Small & Rural

Stanford Hospital and Clinics: Most Wired
University of California San Diego Medical Center: Most Wired and Most Wireless

Denver Health and Hospital Authority: Most Wired
Poudre Valley Health System, Fort Collins: Most Wired and Most Wireless
Greenwich Hospital: Most Wired and Most Wireless
Hartford Hospital: Most Wired
Middlesex Hospital, Middletown: Most Improved
MidState Medical Center, Meriden: Most Wired
Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hartford: Most Improved
Yale-New Haven Hospital: Most Wired and Most Wireless

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