As technology makes it easier for patients and healthcare systems to interact and to improve communication, safety and patient-provider relationships, a variety of new tools are helping patients become more actively involved in both maintaining their health and protecting their healthcare records. Ascension hospitals in 11 Ministry Markets are leading that charge, based on their inclusion on the 19th Annual Health Care's Most Wired® list, resulting from a survey conducted by the American Hospital Association's Health Forum.

According to the survey, hospitals and health systems listed are using smartphones, telehealth and remote monitoring to create more ways for patients to access healthcare 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.

"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," AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said. "They are transforming care delivery, investing in new delivery models in order to improve quality, provide access and control costs."

"Operationalizing and optimizing technology to support our caregivers, patients and families underscores the need to support Ascension's quadruple aim," said Gerry Lewis, Ascension Senior Vice and Chief Information Officer, and CEO of Ascension Information Services. "Our chief information officers (CIOs) 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. Specifically, we are using intrusion detection systems, performing data access audits, and running targeted phishing exercises to teach associates to question suspicious emails."

Ascension's Most Wired hospitals also 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.

Ascension hospitals and health systems included on the 2017 Most Wired list are:

  •  AMITA Health Alexian Brothers Health System, Arlington Heights
  •  Ascension Calumet Medical Center, Chilton, Wisconsin
  •  Ascension Mercy Medical Center, Oshkosh, Wisconsin
  •  Ascension Saint Clare's Hospital, Weston, Wisconsin
  •  Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital, Appleton, Wisconsin
  •  Borgess Health, Kalamazoo, Michigan
  •  Columbia St. Mary's Hospital, Milwaukee
  •  Providence Health System, Mobile, Alabama
  •  Sacred Heart Health System, Pensacola, Florida
  •  Saint Thomas Health, Nashville, Tennessee
  •  Seton Healthcare Family, Austin, Texas
  •  St. Vincent, Indianapolis
  •  St. John Health System, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  •  St. John Providence, Warren, Michigan
  •  St. Mary's Healthcare, Amsterdam, New York
  •  St. Vincent's Birmingham (Blount, Oneonta, East, and Pell City), Alabama
  •  Via Christi Health, Wichita, Kansas

"Congratulations to all health ministries that made this year's list, and to the CIOs who support them," Gerry said. "This recognition continues to highlight the importance and value of technology in supporting Ascension's Mission, and strengthening relationships with our patients, who are becoming more actively engaged in their healthcare through the use of technology."