Healthcare System Makes List for 14 Years in a Row
ThedaCare is once again among the nation’s best when it comes to using technology. “Hospitals & Health Networks” magazine recognized the Appleton-based organization for the 14th year in a row as one of the country’s “Most Wired” hospitals and health systems.
The magazine, a journal for the American Hospital Association, selected 338 organizations out of the country’s 2,213 hospitals and health systems for its Most Wired list, an industry-standard benchmark study that measures the level of information technology adoption in hospitals and healthcare systems. To achieve Most Wired status, an organization must demonstrate advanced capabilities in infrastructure, business and administrative management, clinical quality and safety, and clinical integration. In addition to ThedaCare, eight other Wisconsin health systems and hospitals were included on the 2015 list.
ThedaCare physicians and staff members use information technology to enhance patient care through the electronic medical record (EMR) system that allows doctors at multiple sites to view and update a patient’s medical file, said Keith Livingston, senior vice president and chief information officer. During the past year, ThedaCare expanded its EMR to Community Health Network and Wild Rose Hospital and their clinics, which both joined ThedaCare in 2014, and Mosaic Family Health in Appleton, which is the former UW Health Fox Valley Medicine clinic now co-sponsored by ThedaCare and Ministry Health.
“As ThedaCare continues to grow, we’ve grown our electronic medical records to ensure we can easily share patient information among different providers at different locations, such as between clinics and hospitals,” Livingston said. “Providers then have a more complete picture of a patient’s health, which leads to improved care and eliminates the needs for duplicate tests, for example, since they can view previous results.”
EMRs can also be shared outside of ThedaCare through the organization’s membership in the Care Everywhere Network. Livingston said ThedaCare has sent patient information to 109 different health organizations in 45 states. ThedaCare is also the first member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network in Wisconsin, which means doctors can share information about patients electronically with Mayo specialists.
“It’s important to have that connection and sharing of records,” he said. “Let’s say someone moves to Las Vegas, we can send their entire health history to a local clinic or if someone is on vacation and needs medical treatment, we can also send the information to that location. It improves the patient’s quality of care.”
Livingston said ThedaCare is also working to improve patients’ access to their own health records through its secure MyThedaCare portal. More than 50 percent of all ThedaCare patients now use the portal to view their health histories, see test results, communicate with their providers or schedule appointments.
“Research has shown that the more people get involved with their healthcare, the healthier they tend to be,” he said. “We continue to look for ways to improve MyThedaCare and how patients can access information.”
ThedaCare was an early pioneer implementing electronic medical records when it began transferring paper medical records to electronic files in 1999. Today, patients benefit from ThedaCare’s digital file system, which gives their health care providers instant access to their medical information, regardless of location. In addition to helping inform providers about a patient’s medical history, the system also draws attention to possible medication interactions, allergies and reminds the provider of any tests or immunizations the patient may need.
About the 2015 Most Wired Survey
The survey was available online from January 15, 2015, through March 15, 2015. Detailed results of the survey and study can be found in the July issue of Hospitals & Health Networks publication. Highlights of the study’s findings include greater alignment between hospitals and physicians, increased use of mobile apps for patient portals, and more aggressive privacy and security measures to protect and safeguard patient data. Hospitals & Health Networks, a leading publication for hospital and system executives, is published by the American Hospital Association (AHA). Nearly 5,000 healthcare systems and care providers and 43,000 individual members come together to form the AHA.
For more than 100 years, ThedaCare™ has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The organization serves over 200,000 patients annually and employs more than 6,800 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 35 clinics in 14 counties. It is the first health care organization in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with Northeast Wisconsin’s only level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service. Construction of ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center in Appleton and ThedaCare Medical Center – Shawano is underway. For more information, visit www.thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on FaceBook and Twitter.