Saint Luke's Health System named among 2010 Most Wired Hospitals

July 1, 2010

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (July 7, 2010) – Saint Luke's Health System has been recognized as one of the nation's Most Wired according to the results of the 2010 Most Wired Survey released today in the July issue of Hospitals & Health Networks magazine.

This is the tenth time Saint Luke's Health System has been named to a Hospitals & Health Networks “most wired” list, more than any other Kansas City area hospital.

Hospitals understand the importance of health information technology (IT) and the benefits of its widespread adoption, yet as a field still face significant barriers to implementation according to a newly released survey of America's Most Wired hospitals and health systems.

“Most Wired is a method to benchmark the organization with our peers and track progress to achieving meaningful adoption of health care information technology,” said Debe Gash, vice president, chief information officer, Saint Luke's Health System. “The ongoing support of our board and hospital leadership has enabled the organization to continue leveraging information technology to improve the delivery of care to our patients, creating a positive work environment and improving the overall experience for our patients.”

Saint Luke's Health System is a longtime leader in information technology. An example is the health system's electronic intensive care unit (eICU) which combines software, telemedicine technology and specialized workflows to monitor patients across critical care units in multiple Saint Luke's hospitals. Physicians and nurses also have access to the patient's chart electronically to have the most accurate medication lists, laboratory studies and radiology images. Patient safety is a priority using barcode technology to cross check physician medication orders.

This year's survey reveals continued progress for hospitals in patient safety initiatives:

  • Fifty-one percent of medication orders were done electronically by physicians at Most Wired hospitals, up from 49 percent last year.
  • Over half (55 percent) of Most Wired hospitals match medication orders at the bedside through bar coding or radio-frequency identification, up from 49 percent in 2009 and from 23 percent five years ago.
  • Additionally, Most Wired hospitals have made improvements when it comes to sharing information during care transitions. For example, new medication lists are electronically delivered to caregivers and patients 94 percent of the time when a patient is transferred within the hospital, 98 percent at discharge and 86 percent when transferred to another care setting.

“The survey results highlight that continued progress is being made but the full potential of health IT has not been meet,” said Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association (AHA). “Hospitals embrace health IT and recognize the many benefits it can provide to patients, but even Most Wired hospitals face barriers to adoption. We have asked that the federal government stimulate greater adoption by making Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments more widely available to hospitals and physicians so more hospitals can move in this direction.”

Survey results speak to the fact that the full potential of health IT has not been met and that the use of electronic medical record functions is still not widespread, even with independent physicians who practice within hospitals. For Most Wired hospitals, only 43 percent of independent physician practices have the ability to electronically document medical records, 41 percent have computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and 44 percent have decision support.

Gerry McCarthy, vice president of physician solutions at McKesson Corporation, a major sponsor of the Most Wired Survey, says providers need to be strategic about IT deployments.

“You can't just start with CPOE as a first step,” he said. “The best way to garner physician adoption of CPOE is to ensure that it adds immediate value to their workflow, which involves automating information across foundational care processes first, such as nursing documentation and barcode medication administration, clinical monitoring and other features.” The same type of thoughtful planning should be applied to information exchange, both with physicians and patients, he adds.

The 2010 Most Wired Survey is redesigned this year to reflect two years of work with an advisory group to continually improve the Most Wired Survey. The 2010 Most Wired Survey represents a new structure and methodology with an increased use of analytics and reporting. The advisory group was comprised of leaders from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), chief information officers, Most Wired staff and vendors. Additionally, the new methodology was made available to the entire CHIME membership for review and comment.

Hospitals & Health Networks conducted the 2010 survey in cooperation with McKesson Corporation and CHIME. The July H&HN cover story detailing results is available at www.hhnmag.com.

About the AHA
The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the improvement of health in their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which includes more than 5,000 member hospitals, health systems and other health care organizations, and 38,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends.

About the Most Wired Survey
Hospitals & Health Networks, the journal of the AHA, conducts the voluntary Most Wired Survey annually which uses the results to name Most Wired hospitals and health systems. It is based on organizations' level of achievement in four focus areas: Business and Administrative Management, Clinical Quality and Safety, Care Continuum and Infrastructure.