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UPMC Mercy Honored as ‘Most Wired Innovator’ for Improving Care with Smartphones

PITTSBURGH, July 11, 2012 UPMC Mercy has been honored with the “Most Wired Innovator” award from Hospitals & Health Networks magazine for its innovative use of smartphones to improve communication among caregivers, resulting in decreased delays and higher satisfaction for patients and more time at the bedside for nurses and other employees.
 
For the 14th consecutive year, UPMC also has been named one of the “Most Wired” health systems in the country by the magazine, the only organization to earn that distinction.
 
“UPMC’s clinical and technology teams have again demonstrated our unique ability to creatively apply technology to meet the needs of patients and the demanding workflow of clinicians. We are proud to be among the high-performing hospitals on the Most Wired list and to have received an Innovator Award for the second time in two years,” said UPMC Chief Information Officer Daniel Drawbaugh.
 
The results are based on 662 survey respondents, representing 1,570 hospitals, who participated in the Most Wired 2012 Survey. The 154 Most Wired organizations met specific requirements in each of four areas: infrastructure, business and administrative management, clinical quality and safety, and clinical integration. The three Innovator Award winners were selected from a set of separately submitted essays by a panel of hospital and information technology leaders. Projects were evaluated based on achievement of business objectives, creativity and uniqueness of concept, scope of the solution and impact on the organization.
 
The UPMC Mercy project, started in late 2010, involves providing BlackBerry smartphones to nurses, nursing assistants, transporters, and other ancillary service staff to facilitate communication, including alerts, scheduled testing and transport notification. The phones allow nurses to immediately receive alerts of critical patient orders, as well as telemetry alerts indicating potentially life-threatening cardiac issues. Nurses and nursing assistants also receive reminders to prepare patients for testing, decreasing delays and improving patient satisfaction. As a result of this effort, transporters have increased the number of transports per shift by more than 20 percent.
 
Employees also can communicate non-urgent messages via text to one or many smartphones, reducing noise in patient areas and decreasing the amount of time spent searching for staff members. An enterprise directory application was created that provides two-click access to more than 50,000 UPMC employees.
 
Previously, the hospital used pagers as a primary communication tool because it lacked wireless infrastructure to support the use of portable phones. The introduction of computerized provider order entry presented a new challenge, requiring a tool that would alert nurses to new orders without the need to constantly check the electronic health record system.
 
“By engaging a multi-disciplinary team in the design and implementation of this smartphone project, UPMC Mercy has been able to overcome training, infrastructure and security obstacles to reach our goal: better communication so that staff can increase time at the bedside to deliver world-class care to our patients,” said Bruce Haviland, chief information officer at UPMC Mercy. 
 
Innovator Award winners will be profiled in the August issue of H&HN, the journal of the American Hospital Association. Most Wired results are detailed in the July issue of the magazine at www.hhn.mag.com. Winners will be recognized for their accomplishments during the Health Forum and American Hospital Leadership Summit in  San Francisco from July 19 to 21.

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