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Aurora named one of the 'Most Wired' health systems for fourth consecutive year

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hospitals on the list are leaders in improving health care quality

Aurora Health Care has been named one of the Most Wired health care providers for the 4th consecutive year by Hospitals & Health Networks Magazine. Aurora is the only southeastern Wisconsin health care system to receive the recognition.

“Technology is an important part of the process of improving patient care,” said Philip Loftus, Aurora’s vice president of information services. “It has helped us to be more efficient in the use of our resources, positively impact the quality and cost of care, and create a safer patient care environment.”

Advances that have been incorporated at Aurora include computerized physician orders, electronic medication prescribing; simpler patient access for registration and scheduling, an integrated electronic system bringing together patient schedules and historic information on those patients, and providing nurses with physician orders, care reminders and nursing interventions in a single location.

Loftus said that the next wave of enhancements would include electronic bedside medication using barcode technology to reduce the number of potential medication errors, and technology to enable physicians and nurses to access “best practice” information, helping to ensure consistent care throughout Aurora. “This approach leads to better outcomes and helps hold down the cost of care,” Loftus said.

The nation’s 100 Most Wired hospitals show better outcomes in four key areas: mortality rates, patient safety measures from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, core measures from Hospital Compare, and average length of stay. Based on analysis of the results of the ninth annual Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study, hospitals are embracing technology as a key tool for health care quality improvements.

“Many hospitals have made strong commitments to using information technology to improve the quality of care,” says Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association. “They are combining technology with clinical knowledge and creativity with a focus on improving outcomes, and making care safer and more streamlined for both patients and clinicians.”

Hospitals investing in quality are also investing in IT. “The Most Wired hospitals are focused on quality,” says Alden Solovy, executive editor of Hospitals & Health Networks. The analysis does not establish a direct causal relationship between technology and outcomes; however, health care organizations are looking to measure trends documenting better outcomes.

"The continued adoption of technology for clinical systems in health care is driving rapid change and great outcomes,” said Lewis Redd, managing partner of Accenture Health & Life Sciences North American Provider Practice and one of the 2007 Survey sponsors. “The leaders in the field are already showing us how technology can help connect hospitals with their patients and enhance clinical outcomes. This survey is a call to action.”

Sunny Sanyal, chief operating officer for McKesson Provider Technologies, adds that the strategic use of IT to drive quality and performance is becoming more common. “The use of IT to automate, measure and connect health care is clearly helping many organizations to improve their performance,” he said. “Looking ahead, we see increased use of analytics and connectivity to drive better outcomes, increased efficiency, greater patient satisfaction and ultimately, a stronger competitive position.”

The Most Wired Survey is conducted annually by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine, which uses the results to name the 100 Most Wired hospitals and health systems. It focuses on how the nation’s hospitals use information technologies for quality, customer service, public health and safety, business processes and workforce issues.

Hospitals & Health Networks conducted the 2007 survey in cooperation with Accenture, McKesson Corp. and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. The magazine’s July cover story detailing the results is available at www.hhnmag.com.

About the Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study
Hospitals & Health Networks, the journal of the American Hospital Association, conducts the voluntary Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study annually and names the 100 Most Wired.

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company.

McKesson Corp. is the world’s largest health care services, technology and automation company.

CHIME was formed with the dual objective of serving the professional development needs of health care chief information officers and advocating the more effective use of information management within health care.

About Aurora Health Care
Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a national leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers care at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

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Contact: Ron Irwin (414-647-3405)

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