MARIETTA, Ga., July 9, 2015 — Health data security and patient engagement are top priorities for the nation’s hospitals, according to results of the 17th annual HealthCare’s Most Wired™ survey, released today by the American Hospital Association’s Health Forum and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). As tribute to the level of patient care and safety at its hospitals, WellStar Health System was named to the 2015 Most Wired hospitals list.
The 2015 Most Wired™ survey and benchmarking study, in partnership with CHIME and sponsored by VMware, is a leading industry barometer measuring information technology (IT) use and adoption among hospitals nationwide. The survey of more than 741 participants, representing more than 2,213 hospitals, examined how organizations are leveraging IT to improve performance for value-based healthcare in the areas of infrastructure, business and administrative management, quality and safety, and clinical integration.
“At WellStar, we strive to create a secure environment for our patients, physicians and team members,” said Jon Morris, senior vice president and Chief Information Officer for WellStar Health System. “Our IT team works tirelessly to ensure all patients, providers and team members have the right tools and the right information at the right time to deliver World Class healthcare every time, 24/7/365.”
According to the survey, hospitals are taking more aggressive privacy and security measures to protect and safeguard patient data. Top growth areas in security among this year’s Most Wired organizations include privacy audit systems, provisioning systems, data loss prevention, single sign-on and identity management. The survey also found:
- 96 percent of Most Wired organizations use intrusion detection systems compared to 85 percent of the all respondents. Privacy audit systems (94 percent) and security incident event management (93 percent) are also widely used.
- 79 percent of Most Wired organizations conduct incident response exercises or tabletop tests annually, a high-level estimate of the current potential for success of a cybersecurity incident response plan, compared to 37 percent of all responding hospitals.
- 83 percent of Most Wired organizations report that hospital board oversight of risk management and reduction includes cybersecurity risk.
“With the rising number of patient data breaches and cybersecurity attacks threatening the healthcare industry, protecting patient health information is a top priority for hospital customers,” said Frank Nydam, Senior Director of Healthcare at VMware. “Coupled with the incredible technology innovation taking place today, healthcare organizations need to have security as a foundational component of their mobility, cloud and networking strategy and incorporated into the very fabric of the organization.”
As hospitals and health systems begin to transition away from volume-based care to more integrated, value-based care delivery, hospitals are utilizing IT to better facilitate information exchange across the care settings. This includes greater alignment between hospitals and physicians. According to the survey, the physician portal is a key factor in strengthening physician-hospital alignment:
- In 84 percent of Most Wired organizations, physicians can view and exchange other facilities’ results in the portal compared with 63 percent of hospitals surveyed.
- 76 percent use the portal and electronic health record (EHR) to exchange results with other EHRs and health information exchanges compared to 56 percent of those surveyed.
- 81 percent can communicate with patients via email or alerts in contrast to 63 percent of all respondents.
Driven beyond the requirements of Meaningful Use Stage 2, this year’s Most Wired hospitals are utilizing the benefits of a patient portal to get patients actively involved in their health and healthcare. For instance, 89 percent of Most Wired organizations offer access to the patient portal through a mobile application. Other key findings include:
- 67 percent of Most Wired hospitals offer the ability to incorporate patient-generated data.
- 63 percent offer self-management tools for chronic conditions.
- 60 percent offer patient-specific education in multiple languages.
“We commend and congratulate this year’s Most Wired hospitals and their CIOs for improving care delivery and outcomes in our nation’s hospitals through their creative and revolutionary uses of technology,” said CHIME CEO and President Russell P. Branzell, FCHIME CHCIO. “These Most Wired organizations represent excellence in IT leadership on the frontlines of healthcare transformation.”
“Congratulations to our nation’s Most Wired hospitals for harnessing the potential of information technology to improve quality care and patient safety and lower health care costs,” said Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the AHA. “At the forefront of the field, these hospitals are setting the bar for protection of patient data through discerning security measures.”
HealthCare’s Most Wired™ Survey, conducted between Jan. 15 and March 15, 2015, is published annually by Health & Hospitals Network. Respondents completed 741 surveys, representing more than 39 percent of all U.S. hospitals. Last October, the AHA/Health Forum and CHIME announced the formation of a Most Wired partnership to enhance collaboration between the two organizations in the development and sustainability of the survey, and to collectively help meet the growing demand for useful data on health IT integration.
About WellStar Health System
WellStar Health System is the largest not-for-profit health system in Georgia and serves a population of more than 1.4 million residents in five counties. The vision of WellStar is to deliver world-class healthcare. A national leader in the transformation of healthcare delivery, WellStar launched the Center for Health Transformation and has partnered with the Georgia Tech Research Institute leading to far-reaching effects on healthcare both locally and nationally. WellStar is regularly listed as a top employer nationally—most recently on the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® list. WellStar includes WellStar Kennestone Regional Medical Center (anchored by WellStar Kennestone Hospital) and WellStar Cobb, Douglas, Paulding and Windy Hill hospitals; WellStar Medical Group; Urgent Care Centers; Health Parks; Pediatric Center; Health Place; Homecare; Hospice; Atherton Place; Paulding Nursing and Rehabilitation Center; and the WellStar Foundation. For more information, call 770-956-STAR or visit wellstar.org.