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The "Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study," conducted annually by Hospitals and Health Networks, recognizes hospitals for achievement in 4 areas: technological infrastructure, business and administrative management, clinical quality and safety, and the care continuum. Award categories include "25 Most Improved," "25 Most Wireless," and "25 Most Wired-Small and Rural Hospitals." The 2010 survey included a new category addressing meaningful use of technologies. More than 1000 hospitals responded; analysis of the survey results emphasized that health information technologies and benefits of adoption are understood. However, many hospitals reported barriers to implementation.

 

Medications ordered by physicians using electronic systems at the "Most Wired" hospitals increased 2% since last year (from 49% to 51%). Fifty-five percent of the responding hospitals reported using bar coding or radiofrequency identification to match medication orders at the bedside. This is a 6% increase in use since last year; a 23% increase compared with 5 years ago. Communication important to the transition of patient care has also improved. Medication lists are electronically delivered 94% of the time when internal transfers occur, 98% of the time with discharge, and 86% of the time when patients are transferred to another facility.

 

However, use of electronic medical record functions is not widespread. Only 43% of independent physician practices report the ability to electronically document medical records, 41% have computerized physician order entry, and 44% have computerized decision support.

 

Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, has asked that the federal government support greater adoption of wireless technology. He suggests that making Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments for wireless technologies more widely available to hospitals and physicians would encourage both to implement electronic records.

 

Nursing schools currently teach informatics and healthcare technology. As faculty, we should assist our students to become innovators and change agents for adoption and widespread use of these technologies.

 

Source: Merrill M. Most wired hospitals for 2010 named. Healthc IT News. July 15, 2010. Available athttp://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/most-wired-hospitals-2010-named. Accessed July 17, 2010.

 

Submitted by: Robin E. Pattillo, PhD, RN, CNL, News Editor atNENewsEditor@gmail.com.