University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Named One of 100 Most Wired Hospitals in the United States for Fourth Consecutive Year
PITTSBURGH, July 15, 2002 — University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has again been named one of the 100 Most Wired hospitals and health systems in the United States by Hospitals & Health Networks, the journal of the American Hospital Association.
UPMC has been recognized each of the four years the magazine has been sponsoring the awards that recognize "technically savvy" hospitals, placing it in an elite group of 19 hospitals that share that distinction.
UPMC also represents a minority of larger hospitals and health systems with more than 500 beds that made the list (11.8 percent) compared to the majority of recognized hospitals (nearly 60 percent) that have fewer than 199 beds. Most of the organizations recognized are non-teaching hospitals (67.5 percent); UPMC is included in the 32.5 percent of the teaching hospitals named Most Wired.
The designation is based on a survey developed in cooperation with McKesson Information Solutions, Qwest Communications International and the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society. The survey and benchmarking study measures the nation's health care systems on their use of Internet technologies to connect with patients, physicians, payors, health plans and employees.
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. The centerpiece of the 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.
"Information technology improves patient care by increasing a clinician's access to the complete medical record. This level of access enhances the physician's ability to make sound medical decisions, consult with colleagues and have meaningful patient encounters. To that end, it is our goal to make electronic patient-doctor interaction commonplace throughout our health
system," said Dan Drawbaugh, chief information officer of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Among the most anticipated functions of the new system is automated clinical decision support. In the coming weeks, pharmacy and surgery decision support will be "going live" at the system's flagship Oakland hospitals. Eventually, other functionalities will be added, and other hospitals will see implementation as well.
Clinical decision support is implemented for a variety of reasons, but chief among these is improved patient safety. Clinical decision support checks a physician's orders against the patient's medical history contained in the electronic health record. It also reads the results of tests and flags results that have significant clinical impact.
Recent reports by the Institute of Medicine have focused public attention on the prevalence of medical errors. These reports also have indicated that the most likely method of solving this problem is implementation of improved information systems, including computerized physician order entry with associated decision support. It is estimated that medical errors will be reduced by 50 percent with these systems in place.
Patients at UPMC are beginning to find aspects of the new system relieve them of many frustrations associated with medical treatment and its processes. Patients will not have to repeat their demographic and insurance information every time they register. The system centrally locates and stores all test results, eliminating the need for patients to endure repeat procedures.
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.
"We are committed to upgrading and developing technologies to meet the needs of our clinical staff, our business units, and most importantly, our patients," Drawbaugh said.
According to Hospitals & Health Networks, Most Wired hospitals and health systems dedicate more staff and capital budget to information technology projects than less wired organizations.
The in-depth, eight-page survey was available online to every hospital in the United States. Results were used to name the 100 Most Wired, the 10 Most Improved and the 10 Most Wireless. More than 300 health systems, representing about 800 hospitals, responded to the survey.