BHS Earns National ‘Most Wired’ Award

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Health Systems (BHS) has been named one of the nation’s ‘Most Wired’ and an ‘Innovator Finalist,’ according to the results of the 2004 Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study conducted by the journal of the American Hospital Association. BHS has been honored every year with a Most Wired award since the survey’s inception, and is one of only 11 hospitals or health care systems in the nation that has been recognized six years in a row. 

BHS was honored with a Most Wired award for its integrated medical records system and computerized physician order/entry program, utilizing its state-of-the-art Meditech system. The Innovator Finalist recognition was bestowed on BHS for its collaboration with small businesses, government, and others to create Berkshire Connect, a telecommunications co-op that provides long distance, local Internet and data connections at service prices comparable with major metropolitan centers.

“Berkshire Health Systems and Berkshire Connect have a unique relationship that has benefited the services we provide to our community,” said BHS President David E. Phelps. “The results of this undertaking have proven beneficial to the Health Systems and the many thousands of people we serve. Through this effort, BHS has been able to reduce telecommunication and Internet service costs, which make our services more cost efficient, and this has been an economic development boon for Berkshire County. We are proud to be a part of this first in the nation effort.”

Survey results found that the hospitals and health systems that were honored are making significant progress automating four core components of an electronic medical record (EMR) — current medical records, medical history, patient demographics, and nurses’ notes. The survey measures the nation’s hospitals on their use of Internet technologies for quality, customer service, public health and safety, business processes, and workforce issues.

Results from the survey were used to name the 100 most wired, the 25 most improved, the 25 most wireless and the 25 most wired-small and rural. The survey also found that most-wired hospitals have made considerable investments in other key technologies, such as radiology systems and picture archiving communications systems (PACS). Hospitals and health networks conducted the survey in cooperation with IDX Systems Corporation and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME).

“Top hospitals realize the power of the electronic medical record to improve quality, safety, and the patient experience,” says Alden Solovy, executive editor of Hospitals & Health Networks, the journal of the AHA, which has named the 100 Most Wired hospitals and health systems for the past six years. These hospitals are emphasizing clinical quality and patient services in their efforts to remain technology leaders, he said.

“Health care technology continues to be a critical component of our health care delivery system,” says Mark Wheeler, M.D., chief technical architect, IDX Systems Corporation. “The 100 Most Wired hospitals not only demonstrate what is possible today, but also are proof of concept for the President’s health information technology plan and the national health information infrastructure.”

President Bush has pledged to establish an EMR system within 10 years and has appointed an IT coordinator to guide health care organizations toward improving IT infrastructure. Results from the 2004 survey show that the 100 Most Wired hospitals are striving to achieve this goal. The entire report is available at www.hhnmag.com <http://www.hhnmag.com>.

Analysis from this year’s survey results shows:

• 90{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of the most-wired provide access to the current medical record online;
• 87{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} offer access to the online medical history;
• 88{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} offer online access to patient demographics; and
• 69{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} offer online access to nurses’ notes.
In addition, these hospitals are taking the lead in providing EMR for clinician review. Of the 2004 most-wired hospitals:
• 88{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} offer online lab results review;
• 90{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} offer online radiology report review; and
• 84{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} have radiology image review.

The 100 most wired are the organizations that scored highest on the survey. The 25 most wireless are those that scored highest on the survey questions specific to wireless applications. The 25 most improved are organizations not appearing on the 100 most-wired list whose score improved the most from 2003 to 2004.