New ‘Most Wired’ Survey Finds Growing Technology Gap Between Hospitals
Although a number of hospitals have implemented or expanded information technology systems in the past year, the industry faces a "growing gap" between facilities that "invest in new technologies and those that don't," according to a new survey, the Wall Street Journal reports. The fourth annual "Most Wired" survey, conducted by the American Hospital Association, appeared in the AHA's Hospitals and Health Networks journal. The survey, based on information received from organizations that represent 794 U.S. hospitals, found:
- Most hospitals that ranked as the "100 most wired" last year implemented or expanded systems to allow Internet-based prescription renewal, appointment scheduling, specialist referrals and disease management. More than 90% of the 100 most wired hospitals provide online disease management for patients with a number of conditions. However, "even the most Internet-savvy hospitals" do not "widely offer" access to test results or the ability to determine the status of an insurance claim online.
- The gap between most wired hospitals and "less wired" facilities has increased in several areas, such as the services offered to doctors and nurses. For example, 81% of the most wired hospitals allow doctors and nurses to access patient medical records, compared to 39.8% of less wired hospitals. In addition, 59% of the most wired hospitals offer technology to inform medical staff about prescription drug interactions, compared to 18% of less wired hospitals. The gap between most wired and less wired hospitals also increased in the area of telemedicine services.
However, the survey found that less wired hospitals have made progress in some areas and have invested in IT systems at a faster rate than the most wired hospitals, "indicating they recognize the need to catch up." Alden Solovy, editor and publisher of Hospitals and Health Networks, said that hospitals can use the results of the survey to evaluate their progress, compare themselves with other facilities and "make the case with their own boards for investing more in technology" (Landro, Wall Street Journal, 7/16). The survey is available online.
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