Survey Lists 100 "Most Wired" Hospitals

The study by Health & Hospitals Network comes as the government prepares to unveil a plan to get more doctors and hospitals to increase use of health information technologies.
While the federal government prepares to unveil on Wednesday a plan to help get more doctors and hospitals using electronic patient records and other health-information technologies, an independent survey released on Monday lists the country's 100 "most wired" hospitals.

The 2004 Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study , conducted by Hospitals & Health Networks, a publication of hospital industry organization American Hospital Association, measured the nation's hospitals on their use of Internet technologies for quality, customer service, public health and safety, business processes, and workforce issues.

The 100 most wired hospitals weren't ranked in order, but rather were chosen from 1,298 hospitals that voluntarily participated in the sixth annual survey, says a spokeswoman for Hospitals & Health Networks.

The study indicates that 90% of the most-wired hospitals provide access to current patient medical records online, 87% provide online access to medical history, 88% provide online access to patient demographics, and 69% provide online access to nurses' notes.

In addition, 90% of the most-wired hospitals provide online radiology report reviews, 88% provide online lab results, and 84% have online radiology image review.

There are approximately 6,000 hospitals in the United States; however, medical-industry estimates say that fewer than 20% use technologies such as electronic health records, which provide doctors and other clinicians with more timely and complete access to patient information, such as test results and drug history.

The U.S. government estimates that physician access to that data can annually cut the nation's health-care costs by billions of dollars and eliminate tens of thousands of medical errors by reducing redundant testing and paperwork, and patient deaths and complications related to incomplete information and other mistakes that the technology can help correct.

At a federal health-information technology summit dubbed Cornerstones for Electronic Healthcare on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., Health and Human Services secretary Tommy Thompson and national health IT coordinator Dr. David Brailer are expected to unveil technology and financial-incentive plans that will help more doctors and hospitals to deploy IT, such as electronic health records.

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