Sarah Bush Lincoln Named 2012 Most Wired Hospital

July 16, 2012 noon

For the fifth time, Sarah Bush Lincoln has been recognized as one of the nation’s Most Wired Hosptials, according to the results of the 2012 Most Wired Survey in the July issue of Hospitals & Health Networks magazine.

“Technology has played a leading role in our ability to deliver first-class patient care day in and day out,” said Mike DeLuca, Vice President of Information Systems at Sarah Bush Lincoln. “We are honored to be recognized by the American Hospital Association for the fifth time as a Most Wired hospital. Sarah Bush Lincoln remains committed to using the latest technology to provide high-quality patient care.”

In its commitment to serve the community for generations to come, Sarah Bush Lincoln has strategically planned for future capital expenses by ensuring a strong financial position and seeking appropriate grant opportunities. In 2005, The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) awarded Sarah Bush Lincoln with a $1.5 million technology grant to implement an ambulatory electronic medical record (AEMR) system in its physician clinics. So far, 14 physician clinics are using the electronic record system. DeLuca explained that when people seek care in the Emergency Room, and their doctor’s office uses an AEMR, the ER doctor has quick access to the person’s medical record for what he/she was most recently treated.

In addition to recent implementations of electronic medical records in physician clinics, Sarah Bush Lincoln’s goal of becoming “wired” spans the entire organization. Departments such as patient billing, materials management, staff scheduling, and risk management use computerized systems to collect and analyze data. The System launched a new website that offers interactivity and engagement to its users, as well as launching a patient portal. Portal participants can request an appointment, request a medication refill, view their test results and talk with their doctor or mid-level provider’s office online. Plans are underway to enable patients to pay their bills online.

The nation’s Most Wired hospitals are leveraging the adoption and use of health information technology to improve performance in a number of areas, according to Health Care’s Most Wired 2012 Survey. As a field, hospitals are focused on expanding and adopting technology that protects data and optimizes communication.

“As shown by these survey results, hospitals continue to demonstrate how information technology not only can be used to improve patient care and safety but it is also a means to improve efficiency,” Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, said. “Hospitals receiving Most Wired recognition are truly representative of our nation's hospitals and systems – rural and urban, small and large, teaching and non-teaching, and critical access hospitals geographically dispersed.”

Sarah Bush Lincoln uses bedside bar coding devices to help match prescribed medications to the appropriate patient; an image archiving system so radiology tests can be easily sent to referring doctors in other organizations; and devices in surgery so the patients medical record can be quickly accessed when needed.

Of note, social media is catching on among the Most Wired hospitals for crisis communications. Nearly one-half compared with one-third of total responders use this media. More than 25 percent offer care management messages and chats with physicians. Sarah Bush Lincoln also uses social media such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flicker to better engage the community in conversation.

The 2012 Most Wired Survey is conducted in cooperation with McKesson Corporation, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), and the American Hospital Association. McKesson Corporation, currently ranked 14th on the FORTUNE 500, is a healthcare services and information technology company dedicated to making the business of healthcare run better.

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 662 surveys, representing 1,570 hospitals, or roughly 27 percent of all U.S. hospitals.

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