Newswise — For the second year in a row, the Harris County Hospital District was named to the Most Wired list by Hospitals and Health Networks, the flagship publication of the American Hospital Association. The Harris County Hospital District joins one other healthcare system in Houston and six others in Texas to be recognized for advances in technology.

“This recognition means the Harris County Hospital District is a leader in using the technology to improve both the quality of care and the patient care experience. A patient’s complete medical record, including imaging, now is available to all of our clinicians anytime and anywhere in our healthcare system. Even our patients can access their medical records using our online tools,” says Tim Tindle, executive vice president and chief information officer, Harris County Hospital District.

The results of the 2012 Most Wired Survey appear in the July issue of Hospitals & Health Networks. The nation’s winning hospitals and healthcare systems were recognized for expanding and adopting technology that touched computerized physician order entry, electronic medication dispensing, electronic medical records and encryption of medical data. To achieve Most Wired status, a healthcare system must demonstrate accomplishment of a number of information technology strides that aid in improving patient care. “Information Technology is a team sport. The credit belongs to the entire staff. IT staff translates the needs of the organization into information technology solutions, runs the servers, builds the networks, trains the users and answers the technical calls, but it’s our clinical and support staff who put these technologies to use,” Tindle says.

In March, Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, visited the Harris County Hospital District to get an overview of its electronic health record system. Aside from the implementation of an EHR system now in use throughout the Harris County Hospital District’s facilities that include hospitals, health centers, school-based clinics and specialty clinics, the hospital district also touts a new biometric palm-scanning patient identification system, the first of its kind in Houston, to ensure patient safety and confidentiality.

Hospitals & Health Networks’ Most Wired survey was conducted between Jan. 15 and March 15 and asked hospitals and healthcare systems nationwide to answer questions regarding their IT initiatives. Respondents completed 662 surveys that represented 1,570 U.S. hospitals.

• Most Wired: 154 • Most Improved: 25 • Most Wired – Small and Rural: 25