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Daniel Drawbaugh
 

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's initiatives in using computer technology to improve health care access have been recognized by InformationWeek magazine.

PITTSBURGH, October 10, 2002 — University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's initiatives in using computer technology to improve health care access have been recognized by InformationWeek magazine. UPMC is ranked 5th among health care and medical industries and ranked 76th overall in the magazine's 14th annual Top 500 listing of the most innovative users of information technology.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is invested in an ongoing, ambitious information technology initiative designed to dramatically improve the quality of patient care, reduce errors and duplication of services and to be a more cost-effective system.

"University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is honored to be recognized by InformationWeek. Being listed among such heavy hitters validates our system-wide efforts and belief that information technology is key to delivering better health care for our patients," said Dan Drawbaugh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's chief information officer. "We will continue to invest in our information technology initiatives and are committed to remaining an innovative health care leader by using technology to provide more personalized services to our customers, be they patients or physicians."

According to InformationWeek, to make the list, a company must demonstrate a pattern of technological, procedural and organizational innovation. Companies were examined on various areas of operations, including technology development, information technology budget, technology strategies, E-business and customer knowledge initiatives and staff management. Only parent companies with at least $1 billion in annual revenue are considered. The magazine's research entails identifying and ranking the companies after an extensive mail, phone and fax study. Senior information technology executives at these companies were then surveyed about their organizational priorities and spending plans for the year ahead.

The centerpiece of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's initiative is the development of an electronic health record to be totally integrated across the entire system, a system that represents the full continuum of care, including 19 tertiary, specialty and community hospitals - in both urban and rural settings, 225 physician practices throughout western Pennsylvania and several nursing, personal care and long-term care facilities. This technology increases the convenience and quality of health care and improves how patients interact with the health system.

"Our patients will directly benefit from our technological advances. Patient care is being further improved upon with UPMC's clinical decision support system, which is part of a new system that has stemmed from our commitment to making electronic patient-doctor interaction commonplace.

The clinical decision support system allows clinicians to more efficiently access complete medical records. This enhances the physicians' abilities to make sound medical decisions, confer with colleagues and have more meaningful encounters with patients," Drawbaugh said.

Other key features of the initiative involve the development and system-wide deployment of technologies that impact access to care, such as scheduling of appointments, registration for clinical services, insurance eligibility management; business practices, including billing, claims and contract management; and resource planning, such as purchasing, materials management and payroll.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has had its information systems division recognized by others in the technology and health care industries. In July, for the fourth year in a row, it was named one of the Most Wired hospitals and health systems in the United States by Hospital & Health Networks, the journal of the American Hospital Association. That award also recognized that University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is among "technically savvy" hospitals, placing it in an elite group of 19 hospitals that share that distinction.

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