Data security, patient engagement take precedence at 'Most Wired' hospitals

As providers invest more time and money in new technologies, patient engagement and data security are two main areas of focus, according to this year's Most Wired Hospitals survey.

More than 741 providers who represent more than 2,200 hospitals responded to the survey, conducted by the American Hospital Association's Health Forum and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), according to an announcement.

More than half of the survey's respondents, 63 percent, allow patients to manage their chronic illnesses via a patient portal. In addition, 67 percent of responding hospitals said they can get patient-generated data through the portal, according to Hospitals & Health Networks.

In addition, most of the facilities recognized as Most Wired hospitals focus on technologies that are wireless. Eighty-nine percent allow patients to access their patient portal via a mobile app; 50 percent provide an app for a personal health record.

"I was surprised to see the high level of usage on mobile devices," CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell told H&HN. "We are seeing that mobility is an expectation in all parts of a consumer's life. They'll demand that from a patient engagement standpoint."

Security also is a primary focus for healthcare organizations, which comes as no surprise as cyberattacks on the health industry continue to grow and providers struggle to keep patient information secure.

The survey found that of Most Wired organizations:

  • 96 percent use intrusion detection systems
  • 79 percent conduct incident response exercises or tabletop tests annually, up from 37 percent in 2014
  • 83 percent report that hospital board oversight of risk management and reduction includes cybersecurity risk

The list includes healthcare entities both large and small, such as 600-bed Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston; 25-bed Washington County Hospital & Nursing Home in Chatom, Alabama; and HCA in Nashville, Tennessee, which boasts 166 hospitals and 43,356 beds nationwide.

Data analytics played less of a role in the survey this year, while it was one of the key pushes for Most Wired hospitals in 2014.

To learn more:
- here's the announcement
- check out the report (.pdf)