In an increasingly wired world, Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine stands out.
The organization was named among America’s “most wired” hospitals and health care groups in an annual survey by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine.
The survey recognizes more than 450 hospitals and health systems nationwide, including 22 in Pennsylvania, for success with integrating information technology in their operations.
Danville-based Geisinger Health System, whose footprint includes Geisinger Holy Spirit hospital in Cumberland County, also made the list. So did the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center health system, which has statewide links and is pursuing an affiliation with Harrisburg-based PinnacleHealth.
LG Health/Penn Medicine was the only midstate-based facility to receive the “most wired” designation this year, however.
Now in its 19th year, the survey evaluates performance in four areas of IT development to drive efficiencies and improve care and the patient experience: Infrastructure, business and administrative management, clinical quality and safety, and clinical integration.
If any of the four areas is not met, the “most wired” designation cannot be granted.
“It’s about more than how many computers we have or what’s the wireless setup in the hospital,” said Dr. Michael Ripchinski, LG Health/Penn Medicine’s chief quality and medical information officer.
LG Health/Penn Medicine has invested more than $100 million into its electronic network over the past decade, Ripchinski said.
Most visible to the public, perhaps, is its MyLGHealth online health management system, a secure portal that allows patients to view test results, communicate with doctors’ offices, schedule appointments and access their medical history, Ripchinski said. About 140,000 patients are enrolled in the site, and the system adds 2,000 to 3,000 new users each month.
What’s behind the scenes matters a great deal, however: Technology like MyLGHealth relies heavily on secure IT infrastructure, Ripchinski said.
“That’s a big piece of it,” he said. “How do we transfer these records in a secure manner?”
In addition to creating and installing that infrastructure, the facility conducts regular internal audits and tests to ensure the security and reliability of its systems, Ripchinski said.
“We do this to achieve our mission: to advance the health and well-being of the communities we serve,” Ripchinski said. “All four (IT) categories benefit the patient.”