A hospital can't promise top-notch healthcare simply because it has a lot of snazzy computers. But the high-tech hospitals below are more likely to offer quality care because they've been awarded a double distinction. Earlier this month, they were listed among America's Best Hospitals, U.S.News & World Report's ranking of hospitals based on their ability to save lives, their expertise in tackling tough medical problems, their reputation among specialists, their nursing excellence, and other factors.
They were also ranked among the "100 Most Wired," a list of hospitals and health systems with the most advanced information technology compiled by Hospitals & Health Networks, a publication of the American Hospital Association. About 1,200 hospitals were surveyed. To be called "most wired," the institutions made the most use of IT in five areas:
SAFETY AND QUALITY. Reducing errors in prescribing medications, monitoring changes in patient conditions and sending alerts to staff in real time, providing hospital clinicians with patients' health records in electronic form, and more.
CUSTOMER SERVICE. Helping patients research illnesses and preregistering them for hospital admissions.
BUSINESS. Using software to streamline purchasing operations and coordinate and track transactions with insurance companies, and similar upgrades.
WORKFORCE. Training physicians, nurses, and other clinicians, measuring staff performance, and related matters.
PUBLIC HEALTH. Safeguarding patient privacy with security measures, participating in cooperative health efforts with other institutions, and improving specific clinical practices.
The Good and The Wired:
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* In a healthcare system named on the "100 most-wired" list
Note: Hospitals & Health Networks is a publication of the American Hospital Association.