ThedaCare Maintains Rank Among Most Wired

July 13, 2011

Healthcare System Makes Top 100 List for 10 Years in a Row

ThedaCare has earned top marks for the 10th consecutive year in an annual survey of the nation’s most technologically advanced health care systems.

ThedaCare was named to the “100 Most Wired” hospitals and health systems list, according to this year’s survey by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine, the journal of the American Hospital Association. It is only one of seven in the state and the only health care system based in Northeast Wisconsin to win this award.

In 1999, ThedaCare became an early pioneer implementing electronic medical records. Today, more than 138,000 patients benefit from the digital system, which gives their health care providers instant access to their medical information, regardless of location.

Andrew Collins, MD, a pediatrician who sees patients in ThedaCare Physician clinics in Oshkosh and Shawano, said technology helps him connect with his patients to provide the best care possible wherever he is.

“If I’m in Shawano and get a call from a patient in Oshkosh, I can easily call up their medical records and answer any questions they may have. The electronic records really help me respond to patients in a timely manner,” he said. “We can also access the records from home so if we’re on call, we can easily check the patient’s records and see what’s going on.”

Dr. Collins said ThedaCare’s technology advances go beyond electronic records. For example, the system ThedaCare uses draws attention to possible medication interactions, allergies and reminds the provider of any tests or immunizations the patient may need.

“Our technology is a wonderful tool in helping us deliver the best care possible to patients,” said Dr. Collins, adding if a patient is admitted to a hospital or seen at another clinic – including ThedaCare’s two FastCare clinics – he can immediately see the records. “We can see in real-time what is going on with someone.”

ThedaCare’s technology also reaches patients directly through the secure online portal, MyThedaCare, which provides patients with essential health information and records. Patients can use MyThedaCare to send messages to their provider, receive test results and check medical histories, such as the date of their last tetanus shot.

Receiving the “Most Wired” honor for the 10th consecutive year is exciting and shows ThedaCare is leader when it comes to using technology to improve patient care, said Keith Livingston, senior vice president and chief information officer for ThedaCare.

“Electronic medical records are an important part of the federal healthcare reform legislation and nearly everyone agrees that sharing electronic records with providers improves patient care,” he said. “Electronic medical records can speed up the care provided to patients since health staff can easily check past medical tests and learn about a patient’s history with just a few clicks.”

ThedaCare is also a national leader for incorporating “lean” business practices pioneered by the Toyota Production System. Since 2002, ThedaCare has invested more than $20 million in information technology throughout all of its improvement and expansion projects as part of its effort to increase efficiencies, cut costs, and improve care and patient satisfaction, Livingston said.

The 100 Most Wired hospitals show better outcomes in patient satisfaction, risk-adjusted mortality rates and other key quality measures through the use of information technology, according to an analysis by Most Wired Survey. In addition to MyThedaCare and electronic medical records, here are some other examples of how ThedaCare’s technology improves patient care and satisfaction:

    Appleton Medical Center, New London Medical Center, Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca, Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah and Encircle Health in Appleton offer public wireless access for patients and their family in all patient care areas.
    An integrated robotic pharmacy system manages and dispenses drugs.
    Computer software automates bedside specimen collection and print labeling, reducing errors.
    ThedaCare has converted its imaging systems – including X-ray, CT, and MRI machines – to fully digital systems that allow images to be viewed from any computer.

The Most Wired Survey is conducted annually by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine, the journal of the AHA, 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 2010 survey in cooperation with McKesson Corp. and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. The July H&HN cover story detailing results is available at www.hhnmag.com.

McKesson Corporation is a healthcare services and information technology company dedicated to helping its customers deliver high-quality healthcare by reducing costs, streamlining processes, and improving the quality and safety of patient care.

Marking its 13th year, the annual Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study, one of the leading IT benchmarking tools in health care, measures hospital IT activities in five key areas: quality, customer service, public health and safety, business processes, and workforce issues.

ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of five hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, New London Family Medical Center, Shawano Medical Center, and Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, and ThedaCare at Home. ThedaCare is the largest employer in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,175 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information, media may contact Megan Wilcox, APR, (megan.wilcox@thedacare.org), public relations and corporate specialist for ThedaCare, at (920) 830-5847, or call the Theda Clark Medical Center switchboard at (920) 729-3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.