Newswise — Psychiatric consults and other specialties will soon be available for patients in primary care settings at Harris Health System, a notable accomplishment and part of the reason the system has been named “Most Wired” by the American Hospital Association’s Health Forum and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. This is the seventh consecutive year Harris Health has received this award.


According to the 19th annual survey, Harris Health is one of 21 hospitals in Texas and five other healthcare systems in greater Houston to be recognized as Most Wired. The annual survey recognizes hospitals and healthcare systems for their leveraging of information technology to improve performance for value-based healthcare in areas of infrastructure, business and administrative management; quality and safety; and clinical integration.


“We continue to leverage information technology to improve the health of our patients, our community and continuously improve our operating efficiency and effectiveness,” says Tim Tindle, executive vice president and chief information officer, Harris Health System. “Maintaining the Most Wired designation is an important validation. Every year, the benchmarks for Most Wired continue to rise and Harris Health continues to meet those higher, stringent standards.”


According to the survey, Most Wired hospitals are using smart phones, 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 emails for patients and families to keep in touch with the care team
  • 68 percent let patients use mobile devices to renew prescriptions
  • 62 percent use electronic health records to add patient data
  • Nearly half of hospitals use telehealth for behavioral health services for 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


“Clinicians and staff have secure access to our patient’s complete medical record anytime and anywhere, including those records retrieved from other healthcare providers across the country,” Tindle says. “This allows our medical staff to use the all-inclusive record to provide patients the most appropriate treatment and optimal outcomes.”


The results of the 2017 Most Wired Survey conducted between Jan. 15, 2016 and March 15 appear in the July issue of Hospitals & Health Networks, the flagship publication of the American Hospital Association. An estimated 2,158 hospitals are represented in the 698 completed surveys—about 39 percent of all hospitals in the U.S.


“Our entire information technology staff responds to the needs of our clinical teams by operating servers, building networks, training users and answering technical calls so clinicians can always focus on patient care,” Tindle adds.