“Most Connected” hospital list brings HIT into the mainstream

This week, a leading consumer magazine published a list giving EMR adoption issues yet another push into the mainstream.

U.S. News & World Report has published a list of what it deems to be the Most Connected Hospitals, wading into waters usually reserved for hospital administrators and healthcare CIOs.

In fact, the consumer magazine is going head to head with the American Hospital Association’s Hospitals & Health Networks, which just published its “Most Wired” list.

The editors included only hospitals which US News had included in the 2011-12 Best Hospitals or Best Children’s Hospitals lists. (Note: The U.S. News list was sponsored by Dell — so I have the feeling some major Dell customers had just a bit better chance of winning  — but hey, I could be wrong.)

To determine which of the “best” hospitals were most connected, the magazine used the 0 to 7 EMR adoption scale developed by HIMSS Analytics, including only hospitals which fit the criteria for a 6 or 7 score.

I won’t go lay out the entire list of criteria for stages 6 and 7 here (many of you know how they work, anyway) but but it’s worth noting the winning hospitals are using little or no paper for documentation, seamlessly sharing data electronically with other providers and leveraging data effectively for quality analysis.

As readers of this blog will know, EMR adoption is far from the only criterion to use when figuring out how advanced a hospital’s IT infrastructure is.  In other words, while many high-quality hospitals have rolled out EMRs, it doesn’t take an EMR to provide quality care.

However, these days EMRs are the most visible health IT project a hospital can undertake. And it seems that even the editors of U.S. News know this.

Folks, we’re at a new and intriguing stage in the EMR adoption process if consumers really want to know which hospitals are EMR-savvy. While they probably have very little idea of what EMRs do, consumers do want to know that if using one, and not, when you will be. The days of EMRs being a cool topic for industry panel discussions are long gone, eh?

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.