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Hospital Sisters Health System named 2017 ‘Most Wired’

BELLEVILLE – Hospital Sisters Health System was named “Most Wired” by the 19th Annual Health Care’s Most Wired survey, released this month by the American Hospital Association’s Health Forum.

hshslogoThe survey showed that technology is making it easier for patients and providers to interact. The investments hospitals and health systems, such as HSHS, have made in technology has been shown to improve communication, safety and patient-provider relationships. Further, the new tools are helping patients become more actively involved in their care and maintaining their health.

HealthCare’s Most Wired survey was conducted between Jan. 15 and March 15 and is published annually by Health & Hospitals Networks. The survey of 698 participants, representing an estimated 2,158 hospitals — more than 39 percent of all hospitals in the U.S. — examines how organizations are leveraging IT to improve performance for value-based health care.
Health care organizations must meet specific requirements of each of these four areas to be named “Most Wired.”

“Our dedicated and knowledgeable IT team at HSHS has worked tirelessly to bring the most advanced technology to our hospitals and clinics for our patients,” Mary Starmann-Harrison, HSHS president and CEO, said. “We have successfully integrated technology into every part of our health system, from patient care to our administrative operations. I’m extremely proud of our IT team and for this recognition that they have deservedly earned.”

According to the survey, Most Wired hospitals are using smart phones, telehealth and remote monitoring to create more ways for patients to access health care services and capture health information. This year’s results show:
• 76 percent offer secure messaging with clinicians on mobile devices.
• When patients need ongoing monitoring at home, 74 percent use secure e-mails for patients and families to keep in touch with the care team.
• 68 percent simplify prescription renewals by letting patients make requests on mobile devices.
• 62 percent add data reported by patients to the electronic health record to get a better picture of what is going on with the patient.
• Nearly half of the hospitals are using telehealth to provide behavioral health services to more patients.
• 40 percent offer virtual physician visits.
• More than 40 percent provide real-time care management services to patients at home for diabetes and congestive heart failure.

In recent years, HSHS has leveraged technology to give patients several treatment options, which is especially critical in small, rural communities when seconds count. For instance, the “tele-stroke care” program provides quick access to neurology specialists that may be more than 100 miles away via high-resolution video and audio communication. In the first three years of the tele-stroke care program, more than 1,500 emergency room stroke patients in Illinois received the critical care they needed to recover from potentially life-threatening and debilitating strokes. HSHS technology initiatives also include virtual health care visits through the HSHS Medical Group’s Anytime Care 24/7 application, where patients can connect with providers in the comfort and privacy of their own home through their computer or mobile device.
HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital is part of the Southern Illinois Division of Hospital Sisters Health System, which also includes HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland and HSHS Holy Family Hospital in Greenville.
St. Elizabeth’s Hospital has further expanded tele-medicine services to also provide specialized pediatric care in partnership with pediatricians from SSM Health Cardinal Glennon. Children who present at the emergency departments of St. Joseph’s in Breese or St. Joseph’s in Highland can be quickly connected with SSM Health Cardinal Glennon pediatricians who are on site at HSHS St. Elizabeth’s 24/7. This allows patients from infants to teens, that may have an acute illness or injury needing immediate medical attention, to receive high-quality pediatric care, close to home.

Advanced technologies will also be employed at St. Elizabeth’s future state-of-the-art hospital, opening in November 2017, to improve workflow, efficiency, safety and enhance patient care in all areas of the facility.

“Our technology initiatives have really strived to focus on patient-centered and patient-first care,” Dr. Ray Gensinger, HSHS chief information officer said. “Technology has enabled us to serve patients and deliver high-quality health care like never before. Our efforts are cost-effective and convenient for the patients, which is the top priority.”

“The Most Wired hospitals are using every available technology option to create more ways to reach their patients in order to provide access to care,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “They are transforming care delivery, investing in new delivery models in order to improve quality, provide access and control costs.”

Innovation in patient care embraces emerging technologies and underscores the need for secure patient information exchange. Hospitals have increased their use of sophisticated IT monitoring systems to detect patient privacy breaches, monitor for malicious activities or policy violations and produce real-time analysis of security alerts.
• 97 percent use intrusion detection systems.
• 96 percent perform data access audits.
• Nearly 90 percent run targeted phishing exercises to teach employees to question suspicious emails.

Most Wired hospitals are transforming care delivery with knowledge gained from data and analytics. They are investing in analytics to support new delivery models and effective decision-making and training clinicians on how to use analytics to improve quality, provide access and control costs.
• 82 percent analyze retrospective clinical and administrative data to identify areas for improving quality and reducing the cost of care.
• Three-quarters use sophisticated analytics such as predictive modeling and data to improve decision-making.
• Nearly 70 percent interface electronic health record data with population health tools for care management.
• More than 70 percent are providing data analytic tools training to physicians and nurses.
• 45 percent initiate a patient pathway using health IT to follow a care plan.
• Nearly 40 percent deliver quality metrics to physicians at the point-of-care.
• 32 percent have tools for real-time patient identification and tracking for value-based care conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Detailed results of the survey and study can be found in the July issue of H&HN. For a full list of winners, visit

Items for Illinois Business Journal publication may be sent to Editor Dennis Grubaugh,

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