WellStar West Georgia Medical Center named 2017 ‘Most Wired’ for partnering with patients on health

Published 9:14 pm Monday, July 24, 2017


WellStar West Georgia Medical Center has been named one of the 2017 Most Wired Hospitals and Health Systems by the American Hospital Association’s Health Forum.

This is the second year in a row the American Hospital Association has recognized WGMC. Last year the hospital was named to the AHA’s “Most Wired Most Improved List.”

WGMC was one of eight Georgia hospitals and health systems to earn “Most Wired” status this year. WellStar Health System also achieved “Most Wired” status for 2017.

The AHA has administered the HealthCare’s Most Wired® survey to hospitals and health systems for 19 years, and results are published in Hospitals & Health Networks magazine.

This year’s Most Wired list includes hospitals and health systems that rely on increased clinical capabilities, telehealth and mobile technology. Technology makes it easier for patients and providers to interact, thus improving communication, safety and patient-provider relationships. New tools also are helping patients become more actively involved in their care and maintaining their health.

Results of the 19th Annual Health Care’s Most Wired® survey show many hospitals and health systems have shifted their focus from acquisition of technology to integrating tech into strategies to improve population health, capitalize on data analytics, boost patient engagement and introduce new efficiencies.

Alan Whitehouse, WGMC’s chief information officer, said the hospital’s 2017 “Most Wired” designation is a result in part from having an Electronic Health Record system that is integrated with patient monitoring devices and a medical information technology software program from Intelligent Medical Objects, a developer of medical terminology solutions. This collaboration provides seamless mapping of clinician-friendly diagnosis and procedure terminologies to billing codes and medical concepts. WGMC’s Information Services department also earned the 2017 “Most Wired” designation for building electronic orders for providers, DrFirst for e-prescribing, and a patient portal accessible from outside the hospital.

“We have a strong team in technical services to maintain and constantly improve the hardware and network infrastructure, but having a great team in only the first step,” Whitehouse said. “It takes systems analysts, nurses, managers and directors of our ancillary departments, LEAN Six Sigma green and black belts, physicians on the medical staff, and senior leadership all working together to make it all effective and efficient when caring for our patients.”

According to the survey, Most Wired hospitals are using smart phones, telehealth and remote monitoring to create more ways for patients to access health care services and capture health information. This year’s results show:

  • 76 percent offer secure messaging with clinicians on mobile devices.
  • When patients need ongoing monitoring at home, 74 percent use secure e-mails for patients and families to keep in touch with the care team.
  • 68 percent simplify prescription renewals by letting patients make requests on mobile devices.
  • 62 percent add data reported by patients to the electronic health record to get a better picture of what is going on with the patient.
  • More than 40 percent provide real-time care management services to patients at home for diabetes and congestive heart failure.

The Most Wired hospitals are using every available technology options to create more ways to reach their patients in order to provide access to care,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “They are transforming care delivery, investing in new delivery models in order to improve quality, provide access and control costs.”

Innovation in patient care embraces emerging technologies and underscores the need for secure patient information exchange. Hospitals have increased their use of sophisticated IT monitoring systems to detect patient privacy breaches, monitor for malicious activities or policy violations and produce real-time analysis of security alerts. This year’s results show:

  • 97 percent use intrusion detection systems.
  • 96 percent perform data access audits.
  • Nearly 90 percent run targeted phishing exercises to teach employees to question suspicious emails.

Most Wired hospitals are transforming care delivery with knowledge gained from data and analytics. They are investing in analytics to support new delivery models and effective decision-making and training clinicians on how to use analytics to improve quality, provide access and control costs. This year’s results show:

  • 82 percent analyze retrospective clinical and administrative data to identify areas for improving quality and reducing the cost of care.
  • Nearly 70 percent interface electronic health record data with population health tools for care management.
  • More than 70 percent are providing data analytic tools training to physicians and nurses.
  • 45 percent initiate a patient pathway using health IT to follow a care plan.
  • Nearly 40 percent deliver quality metrics to physicians at the point-of-care.
  • 32 percent have tools for real-time patient identification and tracking for value-based care conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The 2017 Most Wired® survey and benchmarking study is a leading industry barometer measuring information technology (IT) use and adoption among hospitals nationwide. The survey of 698 participants, representing an estimated 2,158 hospitals — more than 39 percent of all hospitals in the United States — examines how organizations are leveraging IT to improve performance for value-based health care in the areas of infrastructure, business and administrative management; quality and safety; and clinical integration.

Detailed results of the survey and study, along with a full list of winners, can be found at www.hhnmag.com.