HIMSS Analytics data was used for the second year in a row to help validate the U.S,News Most Connected Hospitals list. In the Q/A that follows, you’ll learn more about this data and the HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model℠ (EMRAM).
Q. In your opinion, what are some of the highlights of the U.S. News & World Report’s “Most Connected” Hospitals List? For me, the criteria for the 156 Most Connected Hospitals is the highlight of this listing because those hospitals selected are truly at the forefront of connectivity and use of electronic medical records. Here are the criteria as noted in the article.
1. The hospital earned a national ranking in 2012-13 U.S. News Best Hospitals and/or Best Children’s Hospitals or by having earned the designation of “high-performing” in one or more medical specialties,” as noted in the July 16, 2012, online article. In addition, the hospital (or one or more of its major units–such as a children’s hospital within the larger institution) must be a leading institution in moving to the implementation of EMRs.”
2. The hospital had to meet, by July 10, the HHS requirements for meaningful use for the EMR systems with e-prescribing, exchanging medical records, supplying medical data to patients and providing data for monitoring clinical quality; and
3. The hospital had to meet, by July 10, “the strict criteria for EMR use set by HIMSS Analytics.” As such, all hospitals on the Most Connected list were either at Stage 6 or Stage 7 on the HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model℠ (EMRAM).
Q. What does it mean to be “connected” as a hospital or healthcare organization? Why is this important?
A. A connected hospital or healthcare organization allows multiple caregivers, in a single or multiple care setting, to efficiently see each other’s notes, and, and thus be up-to-date on the latest patient care plan information. As such, this connectivity improves:
- Quality, because current patient data is available; and
- Patient satisfaction…and family confidence.
For the patient, this means that no matter how many physicians he or she might see while in the hospital, those caregivers can access the records online at any time and at any place in the hospital. The information is available, and the caregiver can find it – easily and when needed.
Q. Can you share any examples from Stage 7 hospitals or CIOs about improvements made within their organizations as a result of being more “connected”?
A. The CIOs I have talked to at some of our Stage 7 hospitals have reported increased connectedness through the EMR resulting in a reduction of ancillary services, such as labs or radiology tests, because the results are available to the appropriate caregivers at the right time.
For example, a patient in the hospital may see an internist who orders blood tests. Then, she refers the patient to a cardiologist who would want to do the same blood test, but since he has test results from the blood test ordered by the internist, the test doesn’t need to be repeated.
In addition, alerts built into the EMR help caregivers view data and take action. If we go back to those lab results I mentioned earlier, the internist may not worry about a certain low value, but the cardiologist may look at that same result and take action.
Another advantage I see with interconnectedness relates to bundled payments, because this interconnectedness will help hospitals be ready for the efficiency targets in the Medicare bundled payment programs.
Finally, when patients and their families see the value of interconnectedness, perhaps by the examples I’ve noted earlier in this post, they become more confident that the care being rendered is the most appropriate and current in medical thinking.
Q. What about outpatient care – does interconnectedness apply to those settings?
A. Connectedness now involves inpatient and outpatient care scenarios, which mean health systems are prepared to effectively manage a population – not just inpatients.