Top 25 Connected Healthcare Facilities: Best Practices in Imaging & IT

Twitter icon
Facebook icon
LinkedIn icon
e-mail icon
Google icon

Best Practices in Imaging & IT

 IT innovation and integration are alive and very well in 2008. This year's Top 25 Connected Healthcare Facilities bring impressive resumes, tales of major cost savings and return on investment and excellence in patient care and patient and staff satisfaction. They have established new paradigms for integrated health systems using state-of-the-art, emerging information technologies. Patient data flow seamlessly and swiftly among departments. These leaders also offer access to the most advanced imaging technology and expertise in all areas of clinical image reading.

This year's Top Connected winners include health systems, academic medical centers, two physician group practices, two children's hospitals and a variety of community hospitals spread across 18 states. (The winners are presented in alphabetical order; their listing order in no way indicates a ranking).

All of the facilities show tremendous commitments to healthcare IT and informatics. By the number and diversity of IT system integration, they show that IT has contributed to breaking down traditional clinical boundaries, allowing primary-care physicians to view images and better educate patients by sharing them.

This enables a care team to effectively diagnose, treat and educate patients more quickly and effectively.

Technology investment is significant, with the majority of the Top Connected facilities using CPOE (76 percent), structured reporting (84 percent) and having wireless access through the hospital or healthcare organization (88 percent). All of the facilities utilize CT, MRI, ultrasound and digital R &F systems. Following closely behind with 96 percent utilization rates across the winners are CR, C-arms, while 92 percent have echocardiography and DR. Eighty percent have installed full-field digital mammography systems, while 40 percent have CR-based mammography. Three-quarters of the facilities utilize SPECT or PET, while PET/CT is installed at 84 percent of the Top Connected sites and 40 percent own SPECT/CT as well.

Information system deployment is, of course, robust. Some 96 percent of the Top Connected facilities have an EMR. Most of the Top 25 have a hospital information system (92 percent), CVIS (80 percent), surgery information system (84 percent), lab information system (80 percent) and ICU information system (68 percent). In the radiology image and information realm, 100 percent read electronic images including 84 percent that utilize standalone-PACS, 80 percent have a RIS and 60 percent utilize a paired RIS/PACS solution. Interestingly, 96 percent utilize enterprise-wide PACS or RIS/PACS.

So which department IT systems are integrated with PACS? Nuclear medicine, cardiology, teleradiology, ER, orthopedics, vascular, OR, oncology, RIS, radiation therapy and critical care all see more than 80 percent integration across the 25 facilities. One area ripe for future integration with PACS is laboratory and pathology information systems'with 71 percent of the Top Connected facilities reporting they've installed these systems but they don't yet interface with PACS.

Not surprisingly for a list of Top Connected Facilities, 80 percent report that 96 to 100 percent of imaging studies are completed on digital imaging systems (the remaining 20 percent report 91 to 95 percent). Ninety-six percent of the winners are 90 to 100 percent filmless. Data growth is surging, too, with a quarter of the winners seeing 6 to 10 percent growth in the last year. Some 16 percent have seen data increase 21 to 25 percent. Only two facilities report data growth under 5 percent. Cleveland Clinic reports the most data in its long-term archive'1 petabyte!

Imaging procedure growth for half of the winners is pacing at 6 to 10 percent, with about a quarter of the Top 25 posting growth under 5 percent. Report turn-around times are impressive too, with the fastest radiology reports ready in 20 minutes at Imaging Healthcare Specialists in San Diego (28 minutes at Norton Healthcare in Louisville, Ky.). The fastest cardiology report turn-around time is 21 minutes at the University of Pittsburgh, while ER reports are ready in 15 minutes at Brigham & Women's in Boston (20 minutes across town at Mass General Hospital and the same at Alegent Health in Omaha).

We congratulate each of this year's winners—you are an inspiration to all!

The Fine Print
This year's online nominations were accepted from May 19th through June 24th. Some 525 healthcare facilities