HOUSTON (July 25, 2013)

Memorial Hermann Health System has been recognized again as one of the nation's Most Wired hospitals, according to the results of the 2013 Most Wired Survey released in the July issue of Hospitals & Health Networks magazine.

The nation's Most Wired hospitals and health systems have deployed technologies that improve patient documentation, advance clinical decision support and evidence-based protocols, reduce the likelihood of medical errors, and rapidly restore access to data in the case of a disaster or outage, according to the survey.

Memorial Hermann's early adoption and aggressive utilization of IT tools to promote improved patient care and safety, operational efficiency, data collection, and to reduce healthcare costs, is the primary reason it has been recognized nine years running.

"We are thrilled to once again receive this important recognition," said Dan Wolterman, President and CEO of Memorial Hermann. "Our innovative technology is a key differentiator for our System, and is critical to Memorial Hermann being a healthcare industry leader in patient safety and quality, as well as clinically-integrated care. The Most Wired award recognizes our work to advance the health of the populations we serve in the Greater Houston region."

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.

"The concept of health information exchange is absolutely correct. We need to do it and do it in a robust, refined way," stated Russell P. Branzell, president and CEO of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. "The answer here is standards, standards, standards. We need to standardize the entire process, which we've done in almost every other business sector."

Memorial Hermann made its entry into this arena in 2011 when it implemented a cutting-edge, cloud-based medical image sharing platform that vastly enhanced image management, distribution and data exchanges between referring physicians and hospitals in southeast Texas. Memorial Hermann was the first in Houston, and among the first in Texas to employ this image-sharing technology. Additionally, the health system also launched the first Health Information Exchange in Houston, a program that is significantly improving transitions of care, safety and quality by putting patient health data at the fingertips of authorized caregivers.

"We will continue to push the envelope in further developing our IT infrastructure and health information technology," said David Bradshaw, Chief Information Officer for Memorial Hermann. "Our technology has been and will be instrumental to improving and better managing the care of our patients, delivering high-quality and safe care while simultaneously providing a better cost value to healthcare consumers. It also played a large part in Memorial Hermann being the recipient of such recognitions as the 2012 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award, as well as one of the nation's top 15 health systems by Truven Health Analytics."

The 2013 Most Wired Survey also covered some new areas such as big data analytics and patient generated data. An emerging practice, big data analytics looks at large amounts of data to uncover patterns and correlations. According to the survey, 32 percent of Most Wired hospitals conduct controlled experiments or scenario-planning to make better management decisions. Additionally, strides are also being made in patient connectivity. 41 percent of Most Wired hospitals provide a patient portal or Web-based solution for patient-generated data.

Hospitals & Health Networks' 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 659 surveys, representing 1,713 hospitals, or roughly 30 percent of all U.S. hospitals.