2007 Top 25 Connected Healthcare Facilities

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Lessons to Learn from the Leaders

Wow. From the mountain of nominations we received this year, it’s clear that IT and technological advances have permeated a wide range of facility types rather than just a few large, comprehensive medical centers. This year the winners stretched from 25-bed Decatur County Memorial Hospital in Greensburg, Ind. to 2,000-bed Detroit Medical Center in Michigan, and include a children’s hospital, two large imaging groups and a variety of community hospitals and academic medical centers. Several were repeat winners, but most were not.

With so many qualified facilities, this year it was more difficult to select the Most Connected Healthcare Facilities than it was last year. According to last year’s criteria, our winners would have included 39 organizations. With tighter refinement, and a closer look at categories such as the number and diversity of imaging and IT systems integration, we narrowed the field to 25. The winners are presented here in alphabetical order (the order they are listed here in no way indicates a ranking).

Congratulations to the winners—you stand out among the rest!

Connections Make All the Difference in Healthcare

A seamless path for incoming and outgoing patient information is the goal for all the facilities nominated this year. More have succeeded than ever before. The majority of the Most Connected facilities use voice recognition (76 percent), computerized physician order entry (64 percent), clinical decision support (72 percent) and structured reporting (80 percent).

And there is no shortage of information systems installed at these facilities. One hundred percent have both a PACS and a RIS. The majority (96 percent) have both electronic medical records and a hospital information system. Eighty percent have a laboratory information system, 72 percent have a cardiovascular information system and 68 percent have a surgical information system. More than half (56 percent) tell us they have a RIS-PACS.

We asked facilities how many of 20 different systems (i.e. orthopedics, critical care, etc.) share images with PACS. Sixty-four percent have more than 15 different systems sharing images with PACS. Not surprisingly for a list of Most Connected Facilities, 88 percent of this select group are more than 90 percent filmless and 92 percent perform more than 90 percent of their imaging procedures digitally.

They also have seen significant increases in the annual number of imaging procedures performed over a year ago. Most (36 percent) have experienced growth in annual imaging procedures of 6 to 10 percent and another 20 percent saw growth in the range of 21 to 25 percent. One facility experienced an increase of 31 to 35 percent.

Report turn-around times are certainly impressive too, with the fastest radiology reports ready in less than two hours at Norton Healthcare in Louisville, Ken. Baylor University Medical Center took top honors of all the submitted survey ballots with just a 10-minute turn-around time for radiology and cardiology reports and only five minutes for emergency department reports. Jean Plummer, manager, informatics, attributes those impressive numbers to voice recognition and a lot of hard work over the past four years since the technology was implemented. Many other facilities can boast of rapid turn-around times of well under 30 minutes on a routine basis. Many ballots shared stories about how improved connectivity has cut turn-around times down by days.

Health Imaging & IT also would like to issue special recognition to Specialty Networks, a top performing RHIO in Tennessee that has developed its own software solution. Centers where Specialty Networks software has been implemented have enjoyed a reduction of 80 percent of transcriptionists and approximately 20 percent reduction of schedulers. The radiologists’ productivity has increased by 27 percent and the report turn-around time has decreased to less than an hour, down from an average of 24 hours.

U.S. healthcare organizations spent $19.1 billion on IT in 2006 and will spend $20.4 billion this year. By 2010, that number will increase by nearly 25 percent to $25.5 billion.

HIT investment is one of the few issues both Democrats and Republicans agree on, with President Bush, and presidential candidates Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton among others all calling for reduced expenditures and improving care through more electronic systems. Bipartisan bills on HIT are on the table in both the House