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VA Health Care System Named “Most Wired” — Again!

Back of a mobile health clinic showing a door and wheelchair lift

Mobile Telehealth Clinic is one example of “wired” health care.

by Hans Petersen, VA Staff Writer
Monday, June 30, 2014

Second Year in a Row for Honor

The Department of Veterans Affairs, representing 151 VA medical centers, has been named to the 2014 “Most Wired” hospitals list, the second year in a row the Department has been selected for the honor.

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

The nationwide survey regarding information technology (IT) in health care was conducted between January 15 and March 15, 2014, and polled 1,901 hospitals and health systems representing 680 completed surveys, or roughly 33 percent of U.S. hospitals. The VA health care system is one of only 20 organizations that met this year’s Most Wired — Advanced criteria.

According to Most Wired, while 375 health care facilities were named as “core” Most Wired winners, VA was among the 20 to exceed “core” IT development integrating IT in patient-centered care, designating it as a Most Wired — Advance recipient.

This means VA has shown exceptional results in the Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study. The characteristics include:

  • Stronger security systems and faster disaster recovery
  • Adoption of electronic systems and tools to improve business processes, clinical quality and patient safety
  • Use of evidence-based electronic order sets and plan of care and standardized care transition process automated review of CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) key indicators with compliance alerts
  • Telehealth offerings
  • Online chronic disease management for patients at home
  • Use of electronic disease registries
  • Managing care transitions electronically

The honor means that VA is doing an exceptional job utilizing information technology to conduct business in a changing industry landscape.

As the nation’s largest health network, VA is constantly looking for ways to serve Veterans in the best, most efficient way possible. Over the past two years, VA has provided Veteran patients and VA health care teams with even more ways to connect and ensure 21st Century health care through the use of technology — from recent VA Blue Button enhancements that allow access to critical VA lab results more quickly, to the deployment of asset tracking devices and opening access to patients’ clinical notes through OpenNotes.

 We provide updated reports…that improve quality performance and health outcomes. 

At VA, we are constantly working to improve our practices and enhance our understanding of which technologies work best for our network. These efforts will continue to enhance patient care for our nation’s Veterans.

An important example of VA’s implementation of modern technology is the use of electronic data for performance improvement in patient care, management of care transitions and patient engagement.

Electronic Data Supports Quality Measures

According to interim Under Secretary for Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Carolyn Clancy, “The Department of Veterans Affairs is using electronic clinical data to support clinical quality measures throughout its health care system. In addition, electronic data is used to support clinical reminders for the Patient Aligned Care Teams as well as individual health care providers. Electronic data informs our Corporate Data Warehouse which has developed multiple enclaves to evaluate specific data areas.

“Our VA IT systems help VA staff throughout our VA health care system identify clinical risks which in turn guide care to meet a patient’s future needs,” stated Stephen Warren, Executive in Charge for Information and Technology. “These integrated system help provide regularly updated reports of observed to expected events in order to compare performance and, most importantly, to inform interventions that improve quality performance and health outcomes.”

All VA medical centers nationwide were named to the 2014 “Most Wired” list.

The full list of 2014’s “Most Wired” hospitals and the entire report can be found in the July cover story detailing results and available at 2014’s “Most Wired” and a video further explaining the key findings of the 2014 Most Wired Survey “Most Wired Hospitals Find Value in IT.”