Editor's Note: Connected at the Top

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You can find a study to say just about anything you want. But when a majority of studies point to the same conclusions, truth is told. That’s the case with IT in healthcare. Adoption has been spurred by a focus on patient safety and reducing errors, patient satisfaction and overall treatment efficiency—and of course the more recent addition of physician pay-for-performance (P4P) in which proven quality pays.

IT tracks and monitors quality. A recent study shows that California physician groups that follow P4P criteria for IT scored 18 percent higher on clinical quality measures than groups that didn’t use IT in 2006, according to the Integrated Healthcare Association (IHA), the nation’s largest P4P program. For example, breast cancer screening for patients aged 52 to 69 improved from 64.4 percent in 2003 to 71.9 percent in 2006. In 2003, two-thirds of the groups reviewed by IHA did not meet IT criteria, while in 2006 that number dropped to only one-third.

IT investment and associated success is very apparent in our Top 25 Connected Healthcare Facilities that we name this month. These 25 shining stars show the value of their IT investments in EMR (96 percent), HIS (96 percent), PACS (100 percent), CPOE (72 percent), clinical decision support (72 percent), voice recognition (76 percent) and structured reporting (80 percent). Their ballots were filled with details of more rapid—and enviable—report turn-around times, increased radiologist productivity, elimination of unnecessary staff while also impressively growing imaging procedure volumes and reduced film and file room costs. Many enterprises have connected caregivers with images, reports and data available anytime, anywhere—and are continually pushing to make data access more widespread, seamless and intuitive.

For organizations in the business of healthcare, IT is the enabler for both better care and fiscal fitness. Congratulations to our Top 25 Connected Healthcare Facilities!