(Nov. 30, 2018) Atlantic General Hospital is the recipient of the Most Wired Hospital distinction for the third year in a row.
Previously bestowed by the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Health Forum to hospitals at the forefront of using healthcare IT to improve the delivery of care, the awards program has been taken over by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME).
The awards are based on an annual survey and benchmarking study of hospitals and health systems across the U.S.
CHIME revised the survey questions and methodology this year to highlight strengths and gaps in the industry. The goal is to identify best practices and promote the strategic use of healthcare IT to elevate the health and care of communities around the world.
CHIME designated Atlantic General Hospital for 2018 Most Wired recognition at the CHIME Fall CIO Forum in San Diego.
“Receiving the Most Wired award is a reflection of the forward-thinking culture at Atlantic General Hospital that has allowed us to implement so many best practices in healthcare IT,” said Jonathan Bauer, vice president for information systems at Atlantic General Hospital. “But it is also a testament to the skill and passion of our IT team working together with our dedicated medical staff. I cannot thank all of them enough for their ongoing efforts.”
“Healthcare IT has the potential to revolutionize care around the world, but to meet that potential it must be used strategically,” said Russell Branzell, president and CEO of CHIME. “The technology is important, but leadership and a strategic vision are equally important. The diversity of the organizations that earned Most Wired status this year shows quality care can be achieved almost anywhere under the right leadership. By sharing the best practices in Most Wired, we hope quality care will one day be available everywhere.”
A Few of AGH’s Initiatives:
According to the survey, 89 percent of participating healthcare organizations offer some form of telehealth service, but few offer focused telehealth services such as genetic counseling or rehabilitation.
Atlantic General entered the telehealth space with 24-hour monitoring and intervention recommendations for ICU patients in 2010 and has since expanded the technology for partnerships with Kennedy Krieger Institute and Sheppard Pratt to provide developmental health and mental health services, among others.
Most recently Atlantic General established a partnership with University of Maryland’s Greenebaum Cancer Center to provide patients and the oncologists at the Burbage Regional Cancer Care Center access to University of Maryland cancer specialists for consultations and care plans for more difficult cancer diagnoses.
The first to benefit from this telehealth partnership have been patients with lung nodules or suspected lung cancer who are connecting with thoracic surgeons at University of Maryland for pre- and post-operative consultations, followed by patients with breast cancer and other cancer diagnoses.
This fall, Atlantic General began offering genetic counseling via telemedicine with specialists at the Greenebaum Cancer Center for patients diagnosed with cancer or their family members, to inform treatment decisions and assess genetic risk for cancer.
• Communication and Coordination
Over the past year, Atlantic General Hospital has been upgrading the nurse call system in its inpatient unit to improve efficiency and shorten response time to patient requests for assistance.
The project included purchase of smart phones for nursing staff to send and receive secure messaging related to patient care.
Over the next six months, the secure messaging on the smartphones will be integrated with the organization’s Allscripts electronic medical record as well as bedside telemetry equipment and the sensors on new smart beds from Stryker.
This unified communications environment will allow clinical staff who are on-the-go to receive alerts about a patient’s deteriorating vitals, for example, or that a patient with a high risk of falling has gotten out of bed. It will also enable nurses to communicate immediately with patients who have asked for help and coordinate care with other staff.
• Systems Continuity
Over the last year, the IT department at Atlantic General Hospital and Health System has made several improvements to ensure continuity of critical applications and reduce downtimes that require clinical staff to revert to a paper environment.
This includes transitioning more systems to remotely hosted cloud-based solutions, expanding data storage and computing power, and using a high speed fiber network for the remote locations to improve performance and security.
Detailed results of the Most Wired survey and study and a list of the 2018 winners can be found at https://chimecentral.org.
Atlantic General Hospital has been providing quality health care to the residents of Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties in Maryland and Sussex County, Delaware, since May 1993.
Built by the commitment and generosity of a dedicated community, the hospital’s state-of-the-art facility in Berlin combines old-fashioned personal attention with the latest in technology and services.
It provides quality specialty care such as weight loss surgery, orthopedics, outpatient infusion for individuals with cancer or blood/autoimmune disorders, retina surgery and a comprehensive women’s diagnostic center.
Atlantic General Health System, its network of more than 40 primary care providers and specialists, care for residents and visitors throughout the region. For more information about Atlantic General Hospital, visit www.atlanticgeneral.org.