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August 4, 2013

VETERANS’ CORNER: VA medical centers make 2013 ‘Most Wired’ list

By JIM VINES

The 2013 “Most Wired” hospitals named the Department of Veterans Affairs, representing 152 VA medical centers, to its list.

This list which is released by Hospitals & Health Network, in partnership with McKesson, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives and the American Hospital Association, is the result of a national survey aimed at ranking hospitals that are leveraging health information technology in new and innovative ways.

Over the past year, the VA has provided veterans and VA health care teams with 21st century health care through the use of new and innovative technology. Examples are:

• Telehealth being used in veterans homes as an adjunct to traditional face-to-face care.

• Recent VA Blue Button enhancements that allow improved access to critical patient medical information.

• Deployment of asset tracking devices.

• The use of technology to better link specialty care providers to primary care physicians in rural areas.

The survey, which was conducted between Jan.1 and March 15, polled 1,713 hospitals and health systems nationwide to answer questions regarding their information technology initiatives. Overall, roughly 30 percent of all U.S. hospitals were surveyed.

This is the VA’s first time ever being listed and honored to have its integrated health care system recognized by the “Most Wired “ hospitals. Integrating health IT into everyday processes throughout the vast health care system has helped the VA to accomplish this goal. This recognition and this year’s 10th anniversary of the introduction of the VA’s Personal Health Record, myhealthvet, indicates the VA has made great strides in accomplishing their goals and their eagerness to build on this progress.

With this designation, for the first time, all VA medical centers nationwide were named to the 2013 “ Most Wired” list. The location of the VA medical centers can be found at www.va.gov/directory/guide/home.asp. The full list and the entire report can be found in the July H&HN cover story detailing results, available at www.hhnmag.com.

Speak to you again next week.

Jim Vines is commander of AmVets Post 133.

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