FirstHealth of the Carolinas has been recognized as one of the 100 “Most Wired” Health Systems in the U.S. in a national benchmarking survey conducted by “Hospitals and Health Networks” magazine.
In 2010, FirstHealth’s flagship hospital, Moore Regional in Pinehurst, was named one of the top 25 “Most Wired” small and rural hospitals in the country.
The “Most Wired” survey measures how well a health care system uses technology to assist patients, vendors, physicians, nurses and other staff in the key areas of infrastructure, business and administrative management, clinical quality and safety, and clinical integration (throughout hospitals, physician practices and the community). According to FirstHealth’s chief information officer, a health care system would find it difficult to move successfully toward a value-based organization without the use of advanced technologies.
“Success in this new arena depends upon an organization and its provider partners working together to define populations, extract all available data on those populations and use advanced analytics to determine how to best serve those populations in a cost-effective manner,” says Dave Dillehunt. “The ultimate achievement is improvement to the individual patient’s health within those populations as well as creating an improvement in the health status of the overall population. Ultimately, this will result in lower costs.”
Many of FirstHealth’s recent information technology efforts have focused on improved work flow and better outcomes in its Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) programs.
“We have been very proactive in building in components within our ordering processes to ensure compliance with both best practices as well as quality outcomes measures,” Dillehunt says. “We want to prompt our providers to do things – without their having to rely upon their memories – that we all agree would contribute to an improved patient outcome. The technology is finally getting to a point where these kinds of checks and balances can be built into the normal work flow without becoming burdensome to the provider.”
FirstHealth has taken on a number of these projects “because they are the right thing to do” for patients and their caregivers, according to Dillehunt.
“I believe that even these investments will, over time, show a financial return when considering our ability to treat more patients with the same amount of resources, reducing re-admissions, eliminating wasteful tests being performed, and improving overall quality,” he says.
The 2012 “Most Wired” survey found that:
• 93 percent of “Most Wired” hospitals employ intrusion detection systems to protect patient privacy and security of patient data in comparison to 77 percent of the total responders
• 74 percent of “Most Wired” hospitals and 57 percent of all surveyed hospitals use automated patient flow systems
• 90 percent of “Most Wired” hospitals and 73 percent of all surveyed use performance improvement scorecards to help reduce inefficiencies
• All of the “Most Wired” hospitals check drug interactions and drug allergies when medications are ordered as a major step in reducing medication errors
Of the 662 organizations participating in the 2012 “Most Wired” survey nationwide, 154 met the “Most Wired” criteria. Winners were profiled in the July issue of “Hospitals and Health Networks.” They were also recognized at the American Hospital Association’s annual leadership summit and health forum in July.