Harris County Hospital District Makes National Ranking of Most Wired

HOUSTON (July 21, 2011) — The Harris County Hospital District is one of only two healthcare systems in Houston, and one of only seven in Texas, recognized as a 2011 Most Wired winner by Hospitals & Health Networks, a publication of the American Hospital Association.

“This recognition means the Harris County Hospital District is a leader in using the advances of technology to improve both the quality of care and the patient care experience,” says Tim Tindle, executive vice president and chief information officer. “A patient’s complete medical record, including imaging, now is available to all of our clinicians anytime and anywhere in our healthcare system. Even our patients can access their medical records using our online tools.”

The results of the 2011 Most Wired Survey appear in the July issue of Hospitals & Health Networks. The nation’s winning hospitals and healthcare systems were recognized for expanding and adopting technology that touched computerized physician order entry, electronic medication dispensing, electronic medical records and encryption of medical data. To achieve Most Wired status, a healthcare system must demonstrate accomplishment of a number of information technology strides that aid in improving patient care.
HCHD’s recognition marks the first achievement of Most Wired after consecutively receiving Most Improved honors in 2006 and 2007.

“Information Technology is a team sport,” Tindle says. “The credit belongs to the entire staff. IT staff translates the needs of the organization into information technology solutions, runs the servers, builds the networks, trains the users and answers the technical calls, but it’s our clinical and support staff who put these technologies to use.”

Findings of this year’s survey results:  

• Sixty-seven percent of Most Wired hospitals ordered medications electronically compared to 46 percent of all hospitals surveyed.

• A greater reliance on digital records puts pressure on organizations to ensure that data can be restored quickly if systems go down. Eighty-two percent of the Most Wired hospitals and 57 percent of all surveyed hospitals can restore clinical data within 24 hours after a power loss.

• Most Wired hospitals lead in the use of encryption on movable devices to safeguard information. All Most Wired hospitals encrypt data for laptops and 76 percent encrypt smart phones in comparison to 85 percent of total responders that use encryption on laptops and 57 percent on smart phones.

Hospitals & Health Networks’ Most Wired Survey was conducted between Jan. 15 and March 15 and asked hospitals and healthcare systems nationwide to answer questions regarding their IT initiatives. Respondents completed 530 surveys, representing 1,388 hospitals, or roughly 24 percent of all U.S. hospitals.

Aside from the complete implementation of an electronic medical record system now in use throughout the Harris County Hospital District’s healthcare system that includes hospitals, health centers, school-based clinics and specialty clinics, HCHD also has installed a new biometric palm-scanning patient identification system, the first of its kind in Houston, to ensure patient safety and confidentiality.  

For more on the Most Wired winners, visit www.hhnmag.com.

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