Two Southwest Florida hospital systems have been put on a nationwide list of “most wired” with technology that helps advance patient care.
Lee Health in Lee County and the NCH Healthcare System in Collier County are among 21 Florida hospitals that made the 2017 list, based on an annual survey by the American Hospital Association.
Some other hospitals on the list are Sarasota Memorial, Tampa General Hospital, Orlando Health, UF Shands in Gainesville and Jackson Health in Miami.
The survey is conducted with 698 health care systems representing 2,158 hospitals nationwide, about 39 percent of all U.S. hospitals.
The hospitals considered "most wired" use smartphones, telehealth and remote monitoring, among other things, to help promote patient health and security.
For instance, 97 percent use privacy breach protection programs, and 40 percent offer virtual patient visits.
Information technology is used for clinic and administrative data collection, for modeling patient outcomes, quality measures and real-time patient identification.
Lee Health, which operates four acute-care hospitals and a children’s hospital, said making the “most wired” list is a significant acknowledgment of accomplishments with electronic medical records, automation and informatics.
“The technology we have implemented allows for one seamless patient record that medical staff, clinical staff and patients can share, regardless of care location,” said Mike Smith, chief information officer for Lee Health.
“It is widely accepted that having the most accurate and complete patient information enables physicians and other care providers to deliver the best and safest care possible,” Smith said.
NCH has been named to the “most wired” list for six years in a row after launching a technology push in 2001. That’s when NCH started the transition to electronic medical records. It added “smart room” technology to patient rooms soon afterward at NCH North Naples Hospital.
Last year, NCH received a gift of $8.5 million from Audrey Morean Petersen. The gift was instrumental in the system’s ongoing mission of adding “smart room” technology in patient rooms, said Dr. Allen Weiss, president and chief executive officer of NCH.
“It became clear to us many years ago that harnessing the potential of information technology to optimize quality care, enhance secure communications and increase efficiencies helps everyone live a longer, happier and healthier life,” Weiss said.
One element of the "smart room" technology that is most evident to patients is an identification system. When a nurse or technician walks into the room, the employee’s picture pops up on the screen in the room.
Patients also can tap into educational material about their conditions and watch movies to help reduce stress, he said.