FirstHealth of the Carolinas has been recognized as one of the nation’s “Most Wired” hospitals for the sixth year.
The “Most Wired” list is distributed annually by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine, the flagship publication of the American Hospital Association. The magazine evaluates hospitals on information technology in four areas: clinical quality and safety, clinical integration, infrastructure, and business/administrative management.
Being named to the list recognizes a health care organization’s investment in technology that supports patient safety, quality care and best health care practice.
According to the survey, “Most Wired” hospitals:
- Build strong systems to ensure that patient data is secure
- Use telehealth to provide expanded access to medical professionals
- Redefine the way they provide care in their communities by using technology to build patient engagement
“We are honored to be recognized once again for our continued commitment to improved processes and outcomes achieved through the use of technology,” says Dave Dillehunt, FirstHealth’s chief information officer.
In 2015, FirstHealth began the implementation to switch to the Epic information technology program for its electronic medical records system linking all hospital departments, clinics, specialties and services. This switch will create a rapid and accurate flow of information system-wide across FirstHealth’s network, a result that will create a single electronic record of a patient’s entire medical history.
“FirstHealth’s strategic direction focuses on four areas to ensure the organization is growing and moving in the right direction,” says Lynn DeJaco, FirstHealth’s chief financial officer. “The implementation of Epic is key to executing our strategic objectives and to achieving success for the communities we serve. The strategic areas of focus include quality; population health; alignment and growth; and performance and operations.”
When the Epic implementation is complete, FirstHealth medical professionals will have access to a patient’s medical record regardless of where that patient is seen within the FirstHealth system. Additionally, information can also be collected and viewed from any other Epic-based health systems, hospitals or clinics that the patient may have visited. Epic is now being used at most large health systems in North Carolina.
“Our focus at FirstHealth has always been patient safety and quality of care,” says Dillehunt. “Our vision is to continue to move toward an even more improved patient experience, from easier access for our health care professionals to easier access for our patients’ medical records.”
According to Dillehunt, the investment in the Epic system, which is scheduled to go live July 2017, will significantly improve the ability to collaborate with other providers, both internal and external, in FirstHealth’s care process.
“In return, this will help to make health care safer and more convenient for our patients,” he says.
Health Care’s “Most Wired” Survey, conducted between January 15 and March 15, asked hospitals and health systems nationwide to answer questions regarding their IT initiatives. Respondents completed 680 surveys, representing 2,146 hospitals, or more than 34 percent of all U.S. hospitals.
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