Health Care System Named ‘Most Wired’ for 16th Year in a Row
The innovative use of technology to deliver care to patients where they need it helped ThedaCare be recognized again among the nation’s best when it comes to using technology. “Hospitals & Health Networks” magazine recently recognized ThedaCare for the 16th year in a row as one of the country’s “Most Wired” hospitals and health systems.
A journal for the American Hospital Association, “Hospitals & Health Networks” publishes the results of the Most Wired survey and benchmarking study, a leading industry barometer measuring information technology use and adoption among hospitals nationwide. To achieve Most Wired status, an organization must demonstrate advanced capabilities in infrastructure, business and administrative management, clinical quality and safety and clinical integration. In addition to ThedaCare, 21 other Wisconsin health systems and hospitals were included on the 2017 list.
During the past few years, ThedaCare effectively used technology to enhance patient care, said Jodie Ausloos, ThedaCare chief nursing information officer and interim chief information officer. For example, ThedaCare now offers patients the option of an eVisit where they can be “seen” by their regular health provider or his or her team from the comfort of their home. During an eVisit, patients log in to their MyThedaCare private web account and select an issue they need resolved. Patients answer several questions specific to their non-emergency condition. Within two hours, patients receive a response from a physician through MyThedaCare, including a plan of care and a prescription if needed.
“eVisits are just one way ThedaCare brings care to patients where they need it,” Ausloos said. “Technology plays a vital role in making the program a success since physicians easily access the patient’s electronic medical record and review past history, current prescriptions and any drug allergies. Everything from the eVisit is also entered into the medical record, which can help with future visits.”
The eVisit is an example of telehealth, which according to the survey, Most Wired hospitals use along with smart phones and remote monitoring to create more ways for patients to access health care services and capture health information. This year’s results show:
- 76 percent offer secure messaging with clinicians on mobile devices.
- When patients need ongoing monitoring at home, 74 percent use secure e-mails for patients and families to keep in touch with the care team.
- 68 percent simplify prescription renewals by letting patients make requests on mobile devices.
- 62 percent add data reported by patients to the electronic health record to get a better picture of what is going on with the patient.
- Nearly half of the hospitals are using telehealth to provide behavioral health services to more patients.
- 40 percent offer virtual physician visits.
- More than 40 percent provide real-time care management services to patients at home for diabetes and congestive heart failure.
“The Most Wired hospitals are using every available technology option to create more ways to reach their patients in order to provide access to care,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “They are transforming care delivery, investing in new delivery models in order to improve quality, provide access and control costs.”
Another way ThedaCare improved access to healthcare was changing how patients can acquire a MyThedaCare account. Previously, Ausloos said patients had to ask their medical provider for a code, but now they can sign up on their own. Through MyThedaCare, patients can send secure messages to their providers, request an appointment or a prescription refill, and view test results and their medical history.
“MyThedaCare remains a great way patients can access their personal health information and connect with their physician and care team,” she said.
All ThedaCare facilities, including FastCare and walk-in clinics, are connected to the EMR, which makes it easier for physicians to view a patient’s medical history. EMRs can also be shared outside of ThedaCare through the organization’s membership in the Care Everywhere Network, which includes more than 110 health organizations across the country, Ausloos said.
“Being able to share information is key in healthcare. Let’s say someone is on vacation and needs medical treatment, we can send information to that location, which improves the quality of care,” she said.
ThedaCare was an early pioneer implementing electronic medical records when it began transferring paper medical records to electronic files in 1999. Today, patients benefit from ThedaCare’s digital file system, which gives their health care providers instant access to their medical information, regardless of location. In addition to helping inform providers about a patient’s medical history, the system also draws attention to possible medication interactions, allergies and reminds the provider of any tests or immunizations the patient may need.
About the American Hospital Association
The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the improvement of health in their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks and other providers of care. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit www.aha.org.
About Health Forum
Health Forum is a strategic business enterprise of the American Hospital Association, creatively partnering to develop and deliver essential information and innovative services to help health care leaders achieve organizational performance excellence and sustainability. For more information, visit www.healthforum.com.
For more than 100 years, ThedaCare™ has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The organization serves over 200,000 patients annually and employs more than 6,800 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 32 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service. The ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center in Appleton opened in February 2016. For more information, visit www.thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.