July 15, 2002 — University of Utah Hospitals & Clinics has been named one of the nation’s 100 Most Wired health-care systems for the fourth straight year by Hospitals & Health Networks, a publication of the American Hospital Association.
The award, announced in the journal’s July issue, recognizes U Hospital for its Internet technologies that connect patients, physicians, payers, health plans and employees.
The honor demonstrates a commitment to improve patient care throughout the community, according to Rick Fullmer, U Hospital executive director. “Technologies that link our patients, physicians and services help us provide care quickly and efficiently,” he said.
The University supports interactive video and data transmission sites for the Utah Telehealth Network to help patients in the state’s rural communities, said Pierre S. Pincetl, M.D., U Hospital chief information officer and assistant vice president for health sciences information technology services.
“Patients and physicians can be in Nephi, Richfield, Vernal or Moab and receive specialized consultations and review x-rays with health professionals at the U and elsewhere along the Wasatch Front,” he said.
The University also provides medical and clinical informatics programs to educate and support medical professionals. The U supports these programs with a ‘warehouse’ of clinical health and research information that serves as a learning laboratory for students as well as researchers in various fields. With more than 300 million data records, the multidisciplinary database is one of the most comprehensive resources in the academic health-care industry.
“The Most Wired honor shows our commitment to invest in technology that improves the quality of patient care at the hospital and in communities throughout the state,” Pincetl said.
As part of this commitment, University Hospital is investing in a major project to install an electronic medical records system, according to Pincetl.
The journal noted key similarities among the 100 hospitals and health systems that were recognized. The Most Wired organizations are better at communicating with patients by scheduling appointments and filling prescriptions online. They have better control of expenses, higher productivity, more efficient utilization management, and higher credit ratings than the rest of the nation’s hospitals.
Communication with patients and other consumers is enhanced by the health sciences Internet site. ‘Find a Doctor,’ on the new Web site, www.uuhsc.utah.edu, helps individuals locate specialists and other links provide health information topics in English and Spanish.