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UCLA hospitals are really wired

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On July 11, UCLA Health System announced that for the second consecutive year its facilities has been named among the nation’s “Most Wired” for the second consecutive year in a survey by Hospitals and Health Networks magazine. According to an article accompanying the survey, as healthcare transitions to more integrated and patient-centered care, hospitals are embracing information technology to better connect a patient’s various healthcare providers in order to provide better medical care.

UCLA has earned this distinction because it has continued to promote the use of systems and techno-savvy individuals to promote advanced technology that can extend its patient-centered care; this includes the 2013 implementation of a comprehensive electronic health record system. In addition, the health system has developed advanced information systems to better connect with other Los Angeles area healthcare providers. “To make the leap from current health delivery models to future models of population health management and accountable care, a fully integrated operational, business and IT strategy is essential,” explained Virginia McFerran, chief information officer for UCLA Health System.

The hospital that made the magazine’s cut met a set of rigorous criteria across four operational categories: infrastructure, business and administrative management, clinical quality and safety, and clinical integration. It noted that hospitals in the survey have used technology to significantly reduce the likelihood of medical errors. For example, 81% of the hospitals on the list use bar code technology at the patient’s bedside to match medications to him or her.

“The Most Wired data show that shared health information allows clinicians and patients to have the information they need to promote health and make the most informed decisions about treatments,” explained Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association (AHA), which publishes Hospitals and Health Networks. He added, “Hospitals, their clinicians and their communities are doing tremendous work to enhance their IT systems in ways that support care and delivery improvement, and patient engagement goals.”

The Most Wired survey was conducted between January 15 and March 15. Respondents completed 680 surveys, representing 1,900 hospitals, comprising more than 30% of all U.S. hospitals. The AHA is a nonprofit association of healthcare provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. It is the national advocate for its members, which includes nearly 5,000 hospitals, healthcare systems, networks, and other providers of care. The AHA was founded in 1898 and provides education for healthcare leaders and is a source of information on healthcare issues and trends. The 2014 Most Wired survey is conducted in cooperation with McKesson Corp., AT&T, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives and the American Hospital Association.