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Aurora Named One Of The 'Most' Wired Health Systems For Fifth Consecutive Year

Friday, July 18, 2008

Patient Satisfaction Higher at Most Wired Hospitals

MILWAUKEE, Wis., July 17, 2008 — Aurora Health Care has been named one of the Most Wired health care providers for the fifth consecutive year by Hospitals & Health Networks Magazine. Aurora is the only southeastern Wisconsin health care system to receive the recognition.

The 100 Most Wired hospitals have higher patient satisfaction scores, lower risk-adjusted mortality rates and better results on other key quality measures because of their use of information technology, according to a new analysis.

“We were an early pioneer in implementing an electronic health record, and 13 years later we have implemented electronic health records at all 13 of our hospitals and all 100 clinics,” said Philip Loftus, Aurora’s chief information officer.

Today, Aurora’s electronic health record system holds records for more than 4 million patients.

“The level of integration that is in place enables more than 8,000 Aurora caregivers across eastern Wisconsin to access all information about a patient in the electronic health record, no matter where the data was collected,” Loftus said. “This ensures coordination of care, promotes efficiencies and positively impacts the quality and cost of care.”

Aurora is now rapidly moving to the next generation of technology – wireless and mobile. “For instance, wireless access is now available to caregivers and patients at our hospitals and is rapidly being installed in all of our clinics,” Loftus said. “It provides better support for the mobility needed by caregivers, enabling quick and secure access to patient information. Internet access is also being provided for patients and visitors, who now have the convenience of staying connected with family and their office.”

Information technology also is the foundation for the rapid expansion of diagnostic imaging.

“In recent years, diagnostic imaging and digital imaging have become more sophisticated and the cost has decreased, making it cost-effective to implement the technology in more physician clinics, better enabling patients to access more services close to home,” Loftus said.

Upcoming enhancements to Aurora’s IT infrastructure will strengthen the information technology links at Aurora pharmacies and expand nursing documentation.

“Health IT has shown incredible promise in helping us improve the quality and safety of the care hospitals deliver every day,” said Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association. “The results of the Most Wired survey confirm that today’s patient also understands the benefits of IT in improving care and improving the overall hospital experience.”

Alden Solovy, executive editor of Hospitals & Health Networks magazine, said: “Today’s results add to the growing evidence that the appropriate use of IT can enhance both quality and patient satisfaction. Most Wired hospitals are proving the fundamental value of information technology.”

The analysis shows that better outcomes occur at high-tech hospitals, but it does not establish a direct causal relationship between technology and outcomes. The satisfaction analysis was conducted jointly with Press Ganey Associates, and the quality analysis was conducted jointly with Thomson Healthcare.

“Quality and satisfaction are often tied to key initiatives and goals that hospitals are striving toward through the use of technology and process improvement,” said Merrie Wallace, R.N., vice president and solution line manager for McKesson Provider Technologies. “The most successful hospitals use technology as part of an overall strategy and achieve significant results. Those that just deploy technology for technology’s sake don’t see these types of results.”

Lydon Neumann, senior executive at Accenture LLC, agreed that investment in information technology needs to be coupled with other hospital or system-wide efforts to drive exceptional results. “Most Wired hospitals excel in many ways, but a strong investment in and commitment to information technology are characteristic of leaders who are looking at all of the elements needed to be a high-performing organization,” Neumann said.

“An investment in information technology demonstrates the organizational commitment to patients, caregivers, physicians and clinicians, staff and administration,” said Neumann. “It indicates a willingness to invest in areas that advance organizational effectiveness.”

The Most Wired Survey is conducted annually by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine, the journal of the American Hospital Association, 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 2008 survey in cooperation with Accenture, McKesson Corp. and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. The July H&HN cover story detailing 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 Corporation is the world’s largest healthcare services, technology and automation company.

CHIME was formed with the dual objective of serving the professional development needs of healthcare 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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