UC Davis Health System has been designated one of Health Care’s Most Wired institutions for 2011 according to the results of this year’s Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study that appear in the July issue of Hospitals & Health Networks magazine. The Sacramento-based academic health system is one of only six institutions in California designated “Most Wired” in this year’s assessment, which considered responses encompassing nearly 1,400 hospitals around the country. This is the first time the UC Davis Health System has earned the Most Wired designation.
The annual survey examines how hospitals use information technology to address and enhance patient safety and quality of care, public health, administrative processes and workforce decisions.
“It is an honor to be recognized for our accomplishments and commitment to integrating information technology throughout UC Davis Health System,” said Michael Minear, chief information officer for the health system. “We have made significant investments in modern information technology because it supports UC Davis’ clinicians in providing safe and high-quality care.”
Health-care teams at UC Davis perform a broad range of clinical-care functions online. They check laboratory and imaging results, enter medication orders and patient-care notes, and use technology to carry out a variety of other health-care related functions.
The health system transitioned to a fully paperless, computerized environment over the course of several years. Today, its electronic information system includes digital clinical results and images, computerized physician order entry, sophisticated pharmacy systems and online documentation and care plans. The health system’s complex array of electronic content and functionality recently earned it an Adoption Model Stage 6 Award from HIMSS Analytics (part of the nonprofit Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society) in 2010; a designation only 3.2 percent of the nation’s hospitals have achieved by fully implementing a variety of health information technologies.
UC Davis also is at the forefront of health-care providers nationwide in exchanging health data to improve care and potentially reduce health-care costs. The recent partnership between UC Davis and Sutter Health to share electronic health records to optimally support patient care is an example of that effort. UC Davis is working with other local care providers to also share clinical information so that clinicians can instantly access important health information when patients are being treated outside their usual care home (in an emergency department, for example).
UC Davis’ digital environment also encompasses MyChart, an advanced tethered personal health record (PHR) for patients that allows individuals to review a wide range of information about their health-care status, including test results, clinical appointments and medications, and to exchange secure messages with their physicians and care teams. MyChart includes an option for patients to access their medical records using a smartphone or tablet computer using secure network connections. For referring physicians, an online program called Physician Connect provides doctors practicing outside of UC Davis with real-time, view-only access to information about their patients' care at UC Davis. These web-based services offer greatly improved communications and efficiencies that benefit both patients and health-care providers.
“Achieving Health Care’s Most Wired status for 2011 reflects a determination to optimize the use of new technologies within our health-care system to support clinicians and patients in the most effective manner possible,” said Minear, who noted that UC Davis is internationally known for its expertise in telemedicine to bridge geographic gaps in access to health care through high-speed telecommunications connections. “This accomplishment required the full commitment of UC Davis leadership, as well as the hard work and collaboration of the health system’s dedicated IT and clinical teams. One of the unique strengths of the health system is how successfully UC Davis clinicians have adopted modern clinical technology.”
Hospitals & Health Networks magazine, a publication of the American Hospital Association, compiles its “Most Wired” list annually using survey results from hospitals and health systems throughout the United States. Participating organizations are surveyed for use of IT in four focus areas: Infrastructure; Business and Administrative Management; Clinical Quality and Safety (inpatient/outpatient hospital); and Care Continuum (ambulatory/physician/community). Organizations whose responses reflect core development across all four areas are designated as “Most Wired.” A full list of award winners can be found online at www.hhnmag.com.