For the first time, the UCLA Health System and its hospitals have been designated among the nation's "most wired" institutions in recognition of their implementation and use of information technology in their health-care delivery systems.
The annual Health Care's Most Wired Survey, sponsored by Hospitals and Health Networks magazine, measures a hospital's level of adoption of information technology (IT) relative to other hospitals and health systems. The survey data is distributed, collected and analyzed by Health Forum, an American Hospital Association company, which develops industry-standard benchmarks for IT adoption.
The UCLA Health System's award was based on a comprehensive assessment that examined UCLA's overall IT infrastructure and its use of IT and electronic processes (versus paper) for business and administrative purposes, clinical quality and safety, and clinical integration.
"This award is the result of hard work by many dedicated staff and clinicians and expresses our core belief that quality information leads to improved patient care," said Virginia McFerran, chief information officer for the UCLA Health System. "Integrating clinical thinking and dialog into information-systems planning is the cornerstone of our IT strategy to provide the best patient experience possible."
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Most Wired Survey. In that time, hospitals and health care systems have made great strides in establishing the basic building blocks of robust clinical information systems aimed at improving patient care. This process includes adopting technologies to improve patient documentation, advance clinical-decision support and evidence-based protocols, reduce the likelihood of medication errors, and rapidly restore access to data in the case of a disaster or outage.
"This year's Most Wired organizations exemplify progress through innovation," said Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, which co-sponsors the survey. "The hospital field can learn from these outstanding organizations ways that IT can help to improve efficiency."
The Most Wired Survey, conducted this year between January 15 and March 15, asked hospitals and health systems nationwide to answer questions regarding their IT initiatives. Respondents completed 659 surveys, representing 1,713 hospitals, or roughly 30 percent of all hospitals in the U.S.
Among the key findings of this year's survey:
- 69 percent of the Most Wired hospitals and 60 percent of all hospitals surveyed reported that medication orders were entered electronically by physicians — a significant increase from 2004, when the figures were 27 percent for Most Wired hospitals and 12 percent for all hospitals.
- 71 percent of Most Wired hospitals had an electronic disease registry to identify and manage gaps in care across a population, compared with 51 percent of total survey respondents.
- 66 percent of Most Wired hospitals share patient discharge data with affiliated hospitals, compared with 49 percent of total respondents. In addition, 37 percent of Most Wired hospitals share this data with non-affiliated hospitals, versus 24 percent of total respondents.
"The concept of health information exchange is absolutely correct. We need to do it and do it in a robust, refined way," said Russell P. Branzell, president and CEO of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. "The answer here is standards, standards, standards. We need to standardize the entire process, which we've done in almost every other business sector."
The 2013 Most Wired Survey also covered some new areas, such as big data analytics and patient-generated data. An emerging practice, big data analytics looks at large amounts of data to uncover patterns and correlations. The survey found that 32 percent of Most Wired hospitals conduct controlled experiments or scenario-planning to make better management decisions and that 41 percent of Most Wired hospitals provide a patient portal or Web-based solution for patient-generated data.
The cover story in the July issue of Hospitals and Health Networks (H&HN) magazine details the results of the survey and is available at www.hhnmag.com.
The American Hospital Association is a not-for-profit association of health-care provider organizations and individuals committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which includes nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 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. For more information, visit the AHA Web site at www.aha.org.
The 2013 Most Wired Survey is conducted in cooperation with McKesson Corp., AT&T, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives and the American Hospital Association.
The UCLA Health System has for more than half a century provided the best in health care and the latest in medical technology to the people of Los Angeles and the world. Comprising Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center; UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica; the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA; Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA; and the UCLA Medical Group, UCLA Health, with its wide-reaching system of primary care and specialty care offices throughout the region, is among the most comprehensive and advanced health care systems in the world. For information about clinical programs or help in choosing a personal physician, call 800-UCLA-MD1 or visit www.uclahealth.org.