'Most Wired' hospitals named for 2012

As they deploy IT to improve care and address inefficiencies, hospitals are also concerned with protecting patient data
By Mike Miliard
02:30 PM

The 2012 installment of the "Health Care’s Most Wired" survey finds hospitals nationwide leveraging health information technology in new and envelope-pushing ways.

As they deploy IT to improve care and address inefficiencies, hospitals are also concerned with protecting patient data, optimizing patient flow and improving staff communications, according to Hospitals & Health Networks, which polled some 1,570 hospitals for the survey, conducted in partnership with McKesson, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and the American Hospital Association.

Among other key findings from the study:

  • 93 percent of Most Wired hospitals employ intrusion detection systems to protect patient privacy and security of patient data, in comparison to 77 percent of the total respondents; 
  • 74 percent of Most Wired hospitals and 57 percent of all surveyed hospitals use automated patient flow systems;
  • 90 percent of Most Wired hospitals and 73 percent of all surveyed use performance improvement scorecards to help reduce inefficiencies;
  • 100 percent of Most Wired hospitals check drug interactions and drug allergies when medications are ordered as a major step in reducing medication errors.

“As shown by these survey results, hospitals continue to demonstrate how IT not only can be used to improve patient care and safety but it is also a means to improve efficiency,” says Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association.

[See also: Most Wired hospitals list 'carries more weight' with redesign.]

“Equipping caregivers with the information needed to drive quality, safety and efficiency will continue to be an imperative as the challenges facing health systems grow increasingly complex,” added Pat Blake, president, McKesson Technology Solutions. “The effective use of health IT, including actionable analytics and connectivity, can be a strategic lever as hospitals and health systems work to drive better outcomes while managing capacity, reducing costs, and coordinating care across multiple settings and caregivers.”

Almost half of the Most Wired hospitals reported using social media for community outreach and crisis communication, compared to just one-third of total respondents.  More than 25 percent offer care management messages and chats with physicians.

The survey was conducted between Jan. 15 and March 15, and asked hospitals and health systems nationwide to answer questions regarding their IT initiatives. Respondents completed 662 surveys, representing 1,570 hospitals, or roughly 27 percent of all U.S. hospitals.

See the list of Most Wired winners on the next page.