Northwestern Memorial named among '100 Most Wired Hospitals' for sixth consecutive year

07/08/05

Hospital remains leader in technology initiatives

Northwestern Memorial Hospital has once again achieved recognition on the list of the "100 Most Wired Hospitals" as designated by Hospitals & Health Networks, the journal of the American Hospital Association. Noted as a consistent leader in healthcare information technology, Northwestern Memorial is one of nine Illinois hospitals named to this year's list. It is the hospital's sixth consecutive year as a recipient of the prestigious honor.

"We are truly honored to have our efforts continuously recognized as among the best in the industry," said Tim Zoph, vice president and chief information officer at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "Information technology is a key enabler of change in the health care system, which in the end will help hospitals deliver safer, higher quality and more efficient healthcare."

The "Most Wired" awards are based on voluntary participation in a survey focusing on how hospitals and health systems use information technology to address operational and strategic challenges. Questions in the survey are updated each year to focus on new technology trends in the industry. This year's survey, which drew participation from more than 1,200 hospitals (about 21 percent of the total number in the country), measured the areas of safety and quality; customer service; business processes; workforce; and public health and safety.

In this year's survey, hospital CIOs stated that information technology has a key role in both targeted safety efforts and overall systemic improvement to quality and patient safety. According to an outcomes analysis conducted for the magazine by Solucient, the 100 Most Wired hospitals have, on average, risk-adjusted mortality rates that are 7.2 percent lower than other hospitals, even after controlling for the size of the hospital and teaching status.

"There are three key differences in how hospitals apply and use information technology to improve care," says Alden Solovy, executive editor of Hospitals & Health Networks "The Most Wired use a wider array of IT tools to address quality and safety, they have a significantly larger percentage of physicians who enter orders themselves and they conduct a larger percentage of clinical activities via information technology."

Northwestern Memorial was recognized by Hospitals & Health Networks for its comprehensive clinical information system to improve quality and patient safety through the implementation of an electronic health record (EHR). Through the EHR, the hospital is able to reduce and eliminate errors in medication orders, dispensing, administration, and charging processes, and improve care coordination with timely access to medication orders and administration records. The EHR also integrates medical records throughout the organization and provides availability of medical documentation at the time care is received.

Northwestern Memorial has also implemented computerized provider order entry (CPOE) to help ensure effective treatment based on clinical evidence, to improve patient outcomes and to enhance availability of clinical information across a broad network of care providers. Northwestern Memorial distinguished itself this spring by becoming one of a few hospitals across the country (less than 4 percent) to meet and exceed the LeapFrog standard for CPOE, which requires that physicians enter at least 75 percent of medication orders online.

In addition, Northwestern Memorial remains a national leader in using bar coding and robotic technology for specimen processing. Nearly three million laboratory test are processed annually at Northwestern Memorial, and use of this technology has shortened result turnaround time by 32 percent, while also increasing accuracy and reducing costs.

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