Akron, Ohio - Akron Children’s Hospital has been named one of the country’s “Most Wired” hospitals for 2014.
This is the 16th anniversary of the health care industry’s “Most Wired Survey,” conducted as a joint effort by the American Hospital Association, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, AT&T and the McKesson Corporation.
According to the 2014 Most Wired survey results, as the nation’s health care system transitions to more integrated and patient-centered care, hospitals are utilizing information technology to better connect care providers.
For instance, 67 percent of Most Wired hospitals, including Akron Children’s, share critical patient information electronically with specialists and other care providers and these hospitals have made tremendous gains by using information technology to reduce the likelihood of medical errors.
Among Most Wired hospitals, 81 percent of medications are matched to the patient, nurse and order via bar code technology at the bedside, and this rate is actually even higher at Akron Children’s (97 percent).
“Akron Children’s has long been known as a jewel in our own community, but we also love being in the company of the best hospitals in the country, and, in this case, being in the company of the hospitals leading the way in information technology,” said Bill Considine, president and chief executive officer of Akron Children’s. “Our Board has made a commitment to investing millions of dollars in technology, including our electronic health records (EHR) system, with the goal of continuing to improve care at the bedside, improving quality, and giving our providers the information they need to make the very best clinical decisions.”
Nurses and physicians share best practices for patient safety and use checklists at more than 90 percent of Most Wired organizations.
Nearly all participants in the Most Wired survey have an established health IT governance process and evaluate existing workflow processes and desired outcomes.
“While we are proud to say we have an IT culture across our organization, the bottom line is what this means for our patient families,” says Considine. “It means better patient documentation and fewer medical errors. It means we have an electronic record for the patient’s medications, tests, therapies and treatments. It means our primary care offices are connected to our Emergency Department, our pediatric specialists and other locations so all providers are able to easily access and share a patient’s medical history. In short, it means better care.”
Information technology has taken center stage as architects, engineers, doctors, nurses - even patient families - have been working together to plan Akron Children’s new medical tower, which is set to open in the spring of 2015.
Tech highlights of the new tower include adding a maternal fetal EHR system, upgrading to a seamless online pre-surgery-through-the-OR-to-post-surgery medical record, equipping rooms with TV monitors and tablets that deliver a dual system of entertainment and patient education, installing a high-speed, high reliability medical grade network and investing in high-density wireless to accommodate clinical communication via secure cell phones.
Families will also appreciate small but important details like power outlets conveniently placed for charging cell phones and other electronic devices in their private rooms. Waiting areas will have computers in cubicles for parents needing to catch up on family communication or work while their child is hospitalized, and patients will be able to listen to concerts and other events broadcast at the hospital’s new outdoor amphitheater.
”The Most Wired data show that shared health information allows clinicians and patients to have the information they need to promote health and make the most informed decisions about treatments,” says Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association. “Hospitals, their clinicians and their communities are doing tremendous work to enhance their IT systems in ways that support care and delivery improvement, and patient engagement goals.”
Health Care’s Most Wired Survey, conducted between Jan. 15 and March 15, asked hospitals and health systems nationwide to answer questions regarding their IT initiatives. Respondents completed 680 surveys, representing 1,900 hospitals, or more than 30 percent of all U.S. hospitals.
The July H&HN cover story detailing results is available at www.hhnmag.com.