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MORRISTOWN, NJ, AUGUST 2012 – Atlantic Health System was named one of Health Care’s Most Wired organizations for a third consecutive year according to the results of a survey released in the July 2012 issue of Hospitals & Health Networks magazine, the journal of the American Hospital Association (AHA).
Being named a “Most Wired” health care organization means that the parent company of Morristown Medical Center, Overlook Medical Center, Newton Medical Center and Goryeb Children’s Hospital is not only effectively using the most current technology available, but is also prepared for advances in health information technology.
Linda Reed, RN, Vice President, Information Systems and Chief Information Officer, Atlantic Health System, noted that the magazine’s recognition reflected many years of careful planning and investment.
“We have taken a very forward-thinking approach to integrating information technology into the practice of health care,” Reed said. “It takes years to create the infrastructure needed to support the robust systems we have in place, as well as prepare for changes still to come.”
The achievement of the Most Wired status this year follows a flurry of changes, upgrades and new information technology (IT) demands within Atlantic Health System. This included significant networking as part of physician alignment initiatives, meaningful use requirements, as well as a six-month project to upgrade and replace the majority of Newton Medical Center’s IT systems, following the merger that brought the hospital into the Atlantic Health System family in 2011.
“Achieving Most Wired status again, following a very busy year, is a great validation of the immense amount of work we’ve put into making our IT systems the best they can be,” Reed said. “None of this would have been possible without people embracing the need for these initiatives across the board.”
Hospitals with state-of-the-art technology, like those that make the Most Wired list, tend to have better patient outcomes and are more likely to meet eligibility requirements for the federal program that will offer health care providers with financial incentives for what is termed, the “meaningful use,” of electronic health record (EHR) technologies. Atlantic Health System has been preparing for meaningful use requirements. Morristown Medical Center has already received the first stage of federal approvals, and Overlook Medical Center recently attested its progress to the government for approval, with Newton Medical Center soon expected to follow.
Information systems are playing play a key role in some of Atlantic Health System’s major initiatives. Earlier this year, the Atlantic Health System Accountable Care Organization was selected to participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program. Through the ACO, Atlantic Health System works with groups of doctors and other health care providers to provide high quality service and care for their patients. The ACO will rely heavily on sharing patient data, which Atlantic Health System will do through its online patient portal, Relay Health.
Atlantic Health System is also a founding member of Jersey Health Connect, one of four Health Information Exchanges in New Jersey. The HIEs provide collaboration between hospital systems and physician organizations to efficiently exchange data in order to enhance care coordination. Information technology is a large component of this mission, and the approach of Jersey Health Connect, unlike other HIEs, is to allow doctors and health systems to network by using their existing digital infrastructure to avoid high costs and to minimize disruption of operation.
“As shown by these survey results, hospitals continue to demonstrate how IT not only can be used to improve patient care and safety but it is also a means to improve efficiency,” says Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the AHA. “Hospitals receiving Most Wired recognition are truly representative of our nation's hospitals and systems – rural and urban, small and large, teaching and non-teaching, and critical access hospitals geographically dispersed.”
As part of Atlantic Health System's plan, there is more to come. The organization is already rolling out computerized medication order entry for physicians throughout Morristown and Overlook medical centers. Computerized entry for Newton Medical Center will go live in the fall.
In early 2013, Atlantic Health System will roll out Horizon Expert Notes, a structured electronic system that will largely replace written and verbally-dictated physicians’ notes, eliminating legibility concerns and making the information immediately available to those who must rely on them.
“The overarching goal of these programs is to enhance safety and make patient care it more efficient,” said Veronica Daly, MD, OB/GYN, director of medical informatics for Atlantic Health System.
As a field, hospitals are focused on expanding and adopting IT that protects patient data, and optimizes patient flow and communications. As more health care professionals embrace digitalization of medical records, there has been a greater need to protect information electronically. To that end, Atlantic Health System has put numerous systems in place, including data encryption of mobile media and devices, a data loss prevention system that allows the organization to better track movement and storage of electronic personal health information, mandated employee information security training and annual security compliance audits.
The 2012 Most Wired Survey is conducted in cooperation with McKesson Corporation, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), and the American Hospital Association. The survey, conducted between January 15 and March 15, asked hospitals and health systems nationwide to answer questions regarding their IT initiatives. Respondents completed 662 surveys, representing 1,570 hospitals, or roughly 27 percent of all U.S. hospitals.
For further results, please see the cover story from the July issue of Hospitals & Health Networks magazine >
About Atlantic Health System
Atlantic Health System is one of the largest non-profit health care systems in New Jersey, comprised of Morristown Medical Center, Overlook Medical Center in Summit and Newton Medical Center. The three medical centers – all accredited by The Joint Commission – have a combined total of 1,308 licensed beds and more than 2,750 affiliated physicians providing a wide array of health care services to the residents of Northern and Central New Jersey. Specialty service areas include advanced cardiovascular care, pediatric medical and surgical specialties, neurology, orthopedics, and sports medicine. Each of these programs has earned top ratings and recognitions in their respective fields. Atlantic Health System is the official health care partner of the New York Jets and an official health care provider of the New Jersey Devils.
Morristown Medical Center’s Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute performs more heart surgeries than any other hospital in New York or New Jersey, and is one of 20 facilities across the country to perform catheter-based repair and replacement of valves on both sides of the heart. Atlantic Health System’s spine program – where surgeons perform more spine surgery than anywhere else in New Jersey – is one of just 13 hospitals across the country that has received the Gold Seal of Approval™ from The Joint Commission, achieving Disease-Specific Care Certification for cervical and lumbar spine treatments. With the Atlantic Neuroscience Institute based at Overlook Medical Center, the hospital serves as the hub for the New Jersey Stroke Network, and serves about 40 percent of the state’s stroke patients. The system’s Goryeb Children’s Hospital offers more than 100 board-certified physicians in 20 pediatric specialties. Morristown Medical Center is verified as a Level I Regional Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons and designated a Level II by the state of New Jersey.
Atlantic Health System has been chosen for the past three consecutive years by FORTUNE® as one of the magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For®.” The organization has also been recognized four times by AARP as one of the “Best Employers for Workers over 50.” Inside Jersey magazine partnered with Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. and ranked Morristown Medical Center as the No. 1 hospital in New Jersey and the No. 1 hospital for treatment of heart failure and coronary surgery in the state. The survey findings also establish Overlook as No.1 for the treatment of neurological disorders and stroke in NJ. Atlantic Health System is a Major Clinical Research Affiliate with The Cancer Institute of New Jersey and is the primary academic and clinical affiliate in New Jersey of Mount Sinai School of Medicine and The Mount Sinai Hospital.