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VA Named to the 2013 “Most Wired” Hospitals List

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a female healthcare provider interacting with a female patient via Telehealth

VA’s growing Telehealth program is one of the many reasons why the entire Department was named to the 2013 ‘Most Wired’ hospitals list.

by Tom Cramer, VA Staff Writer
Monday, July 15, 2013

The Department of Veterans Affairs has been named to the 2013 ‘Most Wired’ hospitals list — an event that marks the first time that all VA medical centers nationwide have achieved the honor.

The list is the result of a national survey aimed at ranking hospitals that are leveraging health care technology, or ‘HIT,’ in new and innovative ways. The annual survey is released by Hospitals & Health Networks, in partnership with McKesson, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives and the American Hospital Association.

VA’s Under Secretary for Health, Dr. Robert Petzel, will accept the award on behalf of his Department during an American Hospital Association conference scheduled for July 25-27 in San Diego.

“The Department is honored to be on the ‘Most Wired’ list this year,” Petzel said. “VA is dedicated to providing veteran patients with the best experience possible. Integrating HIT into our everyday processes has helped us to accomplish that goal and will continue to be a key part of our strategy moving forward.”

Conducted between January 15 and March 15, 2013, the survey polled 1,713 hospitals and health systems nationwide — that’s roughly 30 percent of all U.S. hospitals — to answer questions about their information technology initiatives. The American Hospital Association then employed an analytic structure to stratify hospitals based on their progress in adopting, implementing, and using information technology in four areas: infrastructure, business and administration management, clinical quality and safety, and care continuum.

Only organizations whose responses reflect development across all four focus areas were designated Most Wired. Among some of the survey’s key findings this year:

  • Sixty-nine percent of Most Wired hospitals and 60 percent of all surveyed hospitals report that medication orders are entered electronically by physicians. This represents a significant increase from 2004 results when only 27 percent of Most Wired hospitals and 12 percent of all hospitals responded, “Yes.”
  • Seventy-one percent of Most Wired hospitals have an electronic disease registry to identify and manage gaps in care across a population compared with 51 percent of total responders.
  • Sixty-six percent of Most Wired hospitals share patient discharge data with affiliated hospitals, in comparison to 49 percent of the total responders. Thirty-seven percent of Most Wired hospitals do so with non-affiliated hospitals versus 24 percent of total responders.
a female healthcare provider examining a man’s eye and sharing images with telehealth

 

“As the nation’s largest health network, VA is always looking for ways to serve Veterans in the best, most efficient way possible — from hiring the best professionals to ensuring that VA is using the most effective technologies in its health care services,” said Dr. Theresa Cullen, acting deputy director of the DoD/VA Interagency Program Office. “We are constantly working to improve our practices and enhance our understanding of which technologies work best for our network.”

Cullen said VA never stops looking for ways to improve communication. “We are always working to be ahead of the curve in providing “wired” ways for veterans to communicate with their health care professionals,” she said, “and for those health care professionals to communicate with each other.”

Following are some examples of how VA is becoming more wired and efficient for veterans, health care providers, caregivers and VA employees:

  • Mobile Health: How cool would it be to be able to get health care information from an iPad? At VA, it’s now an option. VA recently released several health care apps for iOS operating systems. The apps address various health issues that veterans may face, including difficulty sleeping, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), psychological first aid (PFA) and smoking cessation. Additional information about the apps as well as information about all of VA’s mobile health offerings is available on the VA Mobile Health website.
  • My HealtheVet with VA Blue Button: These tools put a number of easy-to-use online resources at veterans’ fingertips. With My HealtheVet (www.myhealth.va.gov) veterans improve their health and communication with their VA health care team by using Secure Messaging. With recent enhancements to the VA Blue Button, which occurred in January and June 2013, it is more convenient and efficient for veterans to access information in their health record. The VA Blue Button enhancements allow patients more timely access to information, expands the types of self-reported information that all registered users can include, and enhances user-friendly functionalities. This includes more timely access to VA laboratory results, radiology reports, VA Notes, and Problem Lists, as well as reducing the wait time from seven days to three days. And now, all registered users can include My Goals in their VA Blue Button.

“This year’s Most Wired organizations exemplify progress through innovation,” said Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association. “The hospital field can learn from these outstanding organizations ways that IT can help to improve efficiency.”

The full list of 2013’s “Most Wired” hospitals and the entire report can be found in the July Hospitals & Health Networks cover story available at www.hhnmag.com.