Stanford Health Care was recognized as one of the nation's most connected hospitals of 2015-2016 by U.S. News & World Report this past October, a designation that honored 159 hospitals for their digital connectivity and clinical excellence. The U.S. News Most Connected Hospitals list recognizes hospitals that demonstrate excellence in patient safety, patient engagement and clinical connectedness, leading to improvements in patient care.
"We could not be more pleased with this recognition of our work," said Pravene Nath, MD, chief information officer at Stanford Health Care. "Although there are still many opportunities to optimize our systems and make them even more usable for our providers, the continued investment in technology and digitization of our entire health operation is evidence of our commitment to providing leading edge innovation in the clinical setting that will change the way health care is delivered."
U.S. News determined its Most Connected Hospitals by reviewing the responses hospitals gave to dozens of questions from the American Hospital Association's 2013 and 2014 Annual Survey Information Technology Supplement. Specifically, responses in three critical areas—clinical connectedness, patient safety and patient engagement—were used to determine a hospital's commitment to health care's digital future.
Clinical connectedness evaluates a hospital's ability to exchange or share patient information electronically with other health care providers who need it. Patient safety evaluates a hospital's ability to prevent causing harm to patients through computerized means, such as by using bar-coded wrist bracelets to verify patient's identities before administering medications or treatments. Patient engagement evaluates a hospital's ability to enlist patients in their own care by providing them with electronic access to their medical information.
"We are pleased to again be recognized as one of the nation's most connected hospitals," said Amir Dan Rubin, president & CEO, Stanford Health Care. "This distinction is the result of the hard work of our physicians, information technologists, faculty, staff and leadership who are dedicated to ensuring the safe and effective use of technology in patient care."
When asked why Stanford was selected for this honor, Nath cited a number of innovations that exemplify Stanford Hospital's connectivity, which began when the hospital and clinics converted to an electronic medical record system in 2008. All of the innovations that seem commonplace now leverage this core technology, he said.
SHC has been using the Epic patient portal since 2009 to build engagement with patients. However, this year, Stanford designed its own portal, MyHealth, which integrates with Epic but is a distinctive, patient-friendly user experience. In addition to an online web experience, patients can access MyHealth via an IOS app on their smart phones. Additionally, he pointed out that Stanford has been a leader in patient-reported outcomes work, where patients can set and track goals with their treatment teams using online tools that integrate with the electronic health record. Stanford was also one of the first institutions to offer video visits and online scheduling. These and other digital health experiences have driven increased enrollment and new methods of patient engagement.
In the area of clinical connectedness, SHC has exchanged over three million records through digital health information exchange with providers regionally and across the country, said Nath, enabling instant access to medical information for the care of our patients.
In terms of patient safety, Stanford has been using bar-coded medication administration since 2008. Last year, the hospital also implemented positive patient ID for laboratory specimens. SHC has also integrated reporting and analytics throughout its systems to drive improved quality of reporting and population health data.
"We are always thinking about how technology might better serve our patients and improve patient care, quality and safety," said Nath. "We're lucky to be at a place where these technology advances are a priority, and we need to continue advancing this work with even more focus on providing a premium experience for our physicians, nurses and other team members who use the technology."