HOUSTON (July 10, 2012)

For the eighth year in a row, Memorial Hermann Health System has been recognized as one of the Most Wired hospitals in the nation, according to the results of the 2012 Most Wired Survey. The results were announced Monday in the July issue of Hospitals & Health Networks magazine.

The nation's Most Wired hospitals are adopting and leveraging health information technology (IT) to improve performance in a number of areas, according to the survey. Leading hospitals are focused on expanding and adopting IT that protects patient data and optimizes patient flow and communications, such as computerized physician order entry (CPOE).

"We are honored to once again receive this important recognition," said David Bradshaw, Memorial Hermann Chief Information, Planning and Marketing Officer. "The Most Wired award validates the work we are doing to advance the health of the populations we serve and to become the most innovative and technologically-advanced health system in the nation.

According to Bradshaw, the Memorial Hermann Accountable Care Organization (ACO) was recently selected to participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program. "With technology like the Memorial Hermann Information Exchange (MHiE) as well as our cloud-based medical image sharing platform, our ACO is well-positioned to enhance care coordination and communication among our physicians and other providers," he said. "Our goal is to improve and deliver high-quality outcomes, while providing better value."

Memorial Hermann's Health Information Exchange (MHiE), was the first of its kind launched in Houston. A free service for patients, MHiE uses a secure, encrypted electronic network to maintain digital medical records all in one place so they're easily accessible by healthcare providers that are Exchange Members.

Most Wired hospitals have made great strides forward with the survey results revealing strong advances in CPOE. Among the key findings this year:

  • Ninety-three percent of Most Wired hospitals employ intrusion detection systems to protect patient privacy and security of patient data, in comparison to seventy-seven percent of the total responders.
  • Seventy-four percent of Most Wired hospitals and fifty-seven percent of all surveyed hospitals use automated patient flow systems.
  • Ninety percent of Most Wired hospitals and seventy three percent of all surveyed use performance improvement scorecards to help reduce inefficiencies.
  • One hundred percent of Most Wired hospitals check drug interactions and drug allergies when medications are ordered as a major step in reducing medication errors.

"As shown by these survey results, hospitals continue to demonstrate how IT not only can be used to improve patient care and safety but it is also a means to improve efficiency," says Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the AHA. "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."

Notably, social media is catching on among the Most Wired hospitals. In this year's survey, nearly half of responders indicated that they were employing social media tactics.

Memorial Hermann Health System has been particularly innovative in its use of social media to educate audiences. In February, the hospital became the first in the nation to live tweet an open heart surgery via Twitter. In March, the system hosted a live interactive broadcast to explain the step-by-step process of a colonoscopy. A live Twittercast of a brain tumor resection took place in May, generating more than 14 million followers around the world.

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.

The winners are profiled in the Summer 2012 edition of H&HN as a cover story detailing the results, available at www.hhnmag.com.