- Hospitals and health systems with exceptional big data analytics skills and population health management competencies top this year’s Most Wired hospitals list.
The survey and accompanying recognitions, now overseen by CHIME, highlight the critical role of health IT and data analytics in delivering high-quality, cost-effective patient care.
New scoring methodologies and higher benchmarks for recognition indicate that the industry is moving rapidly towards health IT maturity, said CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell, FCHIME, CHCIO.
“We raised the threshold to receive recognition this year, and we will continue to set a high bar to ensure Most Wired remains a resource that continually drives improvement in patient safety and outcomes,” Branzell wrote. “Each year we will recalibrate the threshold to measure advancements in healthcare IT, which means the threshold will change annually as the survey advances.”
This year, 254 organizations with robust health IT infrastructure supporting innovative initiatives around patient engagement, population health management, and value-based care received honors from CHIME.
The top ten hospitals and health systems hailed from nine different states, with Nicklaus Children’s Health System in Miami and Baptist Health South Florida in Coral Gables doubling Florida’s representation on the list.
The remaining eight organizations are Lehigh Valley Hospital, PA; Altru Health System, ND; Avera Health, SD; Atrium Health, NC; Sheridan Memorial Hospital, WY; Cedars-Sinai Health System, CA; Henry Ford Health System, MI; and UCLA Health, CA.
“This award is a testament to our commitment to using the latest cutting edge technology to improve patient care and deliver the best outcomes,” said Edward Martinez, Senior Vice President and CIO at Nicklaus Children's Health System. “It is thanks to our entire team's tireless efforts that we continue to lead the way in healthcare innovation.”
Most of the organizations on the top ten list pointed to a spirit of collaboration, communication, and teamwork as the reason behind their success.
“There is a strong partnership and respect between quality, clinical care delivery, operations and technology working together to drive outcomes,” said leaders at Henry Ford Health System. “Given Henry Ford’s spirit of innovation – we know how important technology innovation can be to care transformation.”
At UCLA Health, executives said, “[Our people] are dedicated, passionate, creative, with an unwavering focus on our patients and community. Technologies come and go, but the ability to be agile and innovative while at the same time ensuring that our platforms and solutions are reliable and secure is only achievable by having outstanding, smart people in health IT.”
The combination of teamwork and shrewd investments in new health IT tools and processes also helped new and returning awardees secure spots on the list.
“We are staying at the cutting edge of industry standards and best practices by making significant investments across our entire system in the technology behind our patient care. We are using technology to improve the patient experience everywhere a patient might come into WVU Medicine – from our hospitals to our outpatient clinics,” said Jim Venturella, West Virginia University Medicine vice president and CIO.
Eight WVU Medicine hospitals were named to the list this year.
“We are very proud to see the hard work and dedication of our IT professionals receive recognition by leaders in the industry,” Venturella added.
Albany Medical College, a multiple repeat honoree, also recognized the vital role of being willing to invest in health IT tools.
The hospital has focused on leveraging health IT to support population health management programs across the New York State capital district, and has also improved the integration of data sources into the patient portal, allowing consumers to access care summaries, diagnostic information, and information to support transitions of care.
“Albany Med is committed to investing in vital technologies that assure the highest level of care to the patients we serve,” said George Hickman, executive vice president and system chief information and analytics officer at Albany Med.
“We will continue to pair transformational technology approaches like value-based care and patient engagement with best practices in infrastructure, integration, and security management in support of our healthcare missions.”
UC San Diego’s success comes from its reliance on cloud-based technologies that promote data security and the flexibility to analyze big data, said CIO Christopher Longhurst, MD.
“In 2017, UC San Diego Health moved its electronic medical records system to the cloud, part of a long-term strategy to shift away from traditional data centers to a less expensive, more reliable and secure repository for patients’ medical records.”
“UC San Diego Health is proud to be recognized for exemplifying best practices through rapid and efficient adoption, implementation and use of technologies that measurably improve the experience of both clinicians and patients.”
The organization has also invested in technology to improve the patient experience, said Longhurst.
“UC San Diego has made iPads available to patients in the hospital to navigate their health care journey. Our team developed secure customized tablets that allow patients to control room temperature and lighting, as well as gain access to personal medical information, details on their patient care team and entertainment options — all from their beds.”
Analyzing data from patient experience surveys revealed that the iPads measurably improved satisfaction – and resulted in more frequent use of the patient portal. UC San Diego also participates in the OpenNotes initiative, which allows patients to access more of their personal health data.
While the honorees have succeeded in developing health IT infrastructure that supports impactful population health management and patient engagement, an accompanying trends report indicates that there is still a long way to go before the industry, as a whole, reaches peak health IT maturity.
Gaps in data integration and interoperability persist across the care continuum, and many organizations are still struggling to collect enough accurate, timely, and complete data to engage in meaningful analytics.
Nevertheless, organizations of all sizes, types, and geographical locations are continuing to raise the bar on care quality, outcomes, and patient experiences.
“The diversity of the organizations that earned Most Wired status this year shows quality care can be achieved almost anywhere under the right leadership,” Branzell said.
“We now have a reliable snapshot of the current state of the industry and a map to guide healthcare organizations toward excellence. We have identified practices to improve patient safety and outcomes, and we will continue to look for new and better ways to serve our communities. Together, we are raising the standards of care – and saving lives.”