Akron Children’s Hospital is making a substantial investment in information technology, and the industry is taking note.
This summer, the hospital was named one of the country’s “Most Wired” hospitals. This prestigious honor is based on an extensive survey and recognizes those with exceptionally high IT integration throughout their organization.
The honor comes just six months after Akron Children’s was ranked at Stage 6 (out of seven) and in the top 10 percent of hospitals nationally for implementation and use of inpatient electronic medical records (EMR) by HIMSS Analytics, a not-for-profit subsidiary of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
“Where Stage 6 reflects our extensive implementation and use of the EMR, the Most Wired honor is broader and looks at an organization’s entire information technology efforts,” said Tom Ogg, chief information officer. “This designation reflects a dedication to making sure we have the best technologies and resources to deliver high-quality and safe healthcare throughout the organization. This is a big ‘win’ for the Akron Children’s team and, more importantly, the patients we serve.”
Most Wired hospitals treat information technology as a strategic asset.
“Among other aspects, the survey looks at how we capture and use information to enhance operations like purchasing, billing and communications, the security of our information, who has access, where they have access, and how fast we can restore access to it in the event of a disaster or system outage,” said Ogg.
One of Akron Children’s solutions, computerized provider order entry (CPOE), is an area evaluated in the survey and also for Stage 6. Akron Children’s has reported an overall CPOE rate of 94 percent, which includes orders for patients’ medications, tests, therapies and treatments.
With CPOE, instead of a handwritten medication order, the provider enters the order electronically and the system checks it for conflicts with other orders, other medications, the patient’s diet and allergies. The system also catches possible medication errors by verifying the clinician is giving the correct medication at the right dose and is giving it to the right patient at the right time.
The high usage of CPOE and bedside medication verification puts Akron Children’s in a category with the top 2 percent of hospitals nationwide.
“The best hospitals today have strong IT cultures and I am proud to say Akron Children’s is now in that company,” says Grace Wakulchik, chief operating officer. “It’s evident by the commitment of our Board to invest $50+ million in an EMR system and other technologies, by our recruitment of a chief medical information officer (Dr. Amy Maneker), a chief nursing information officer (Pam Baker) and by the efforts of our human resources and public relations staffs to use the latest technology, including social media, to communicate with our employees, patient families and the public. The fact that we have 29 nurses now working in our IT department is another good example of the integration we have achieved between our IT department and our clinical staff, and the value we place on using technology to improve care delivery.”
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