Lehigh Valley, Pa.,
12:07 PM

LVHN Earns 3 ‘Most Wired’ Awards; Earns Top EMR Adoption Designation

Dottie Kaplan began using Lehigh Valley Health Network’s (LVHN) patient portal shortly after her physician’s office launched this online resource. The active 81-year-old Allentown, Pa. resident says improved communication is the best feature of the interactive portal known as MyLVHN.

“You can ask a question and get an answer right away,” Kaplan says. “If you are having an issue, you can ask what to do – how to adjust medication or what to do about a symptom and get an answer within a day. It’s so much more efficient and I also think it helps build a positive relationship between the doctor and the patient.”

Implementing such technological innovation to advance patient care is the primary reason LVHN earned three awards for the “Most Wired” hospitals in the U.S. for 2017 by Hospitals and Health Networks (H&HN) magazine, a publication of the American Hospital Association.

It’s the 12th consecutive year and the 13th time since 2003 that LVHN has made the top Most Wired hospitals list. In the 2017 H&HN award cycle, LVHN earned the following honors:

  • Most Wired – Advanced, for meeting the advanced criteria in all areas of the Most Wired survey.
  • Most Wired – Innovator Award, for the electronic health record-supported daily hospital huddle.
  • Most Wired – Most Improved, for technological advancement at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Pocono.

To earn these awards, LVHN achieved high marks on a survey that examines how organizations leverage information technology to improve performance for value-based health care in the areas of infrastructure, clinical integration, quality and safety, and business and administrative management.

The MyLVHN patient portal is a critical part of the Epic electronic medical record system, which LVHN implemented in 2015. More than 165,000 patients make use of MyLVHN, which allows patients to view their personal health information, share secure messages with their clinical providers, schedule appointments, renew prescriptions and pay their bills. Additional innovations in the patient portal include implementation of eVisits (a secure electronic clinical visit) and Video Visits (two-way video encounters between patients and LVHN clinical providers).

Two key elements of LVHN’s approach to deliver telehealth encounters include:

  • Only LVHN clinical providers support Video Visit encounters;
  • Both the clinical provider and patient make use of the patient’s clinical record that is part of the LVHN Epic electronic medical record system.

LVHN is unique in this region when it comes to offering telehealth encounters with this approach.

“LVHN is proud to be one of the few organizations to be recognized with three Most Wired awards in 2017,” says Michael Minear, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at LVHN. “LVHN has been working for several years to create the optimal daily huddle, where key clinicians and managers at each of its hospitals meet for about 15 minutes each morning. The quick meeting is supported by real-time electronic medical record (EMR) data about patient census in the Emergency Department (ED) and each hospital care unit, patient flow metrics, and status of any barriers to optimally deliver care to patients.”

The real-time data in the EMR and the acute focus of hospital leadership has been a catalyst to reduce patient length of stay, reduce delays for patient discharge, and to move patients more quickly through hospital services to get the optimal care they require. The huddle and associated focus on patient flow has also helped to eliminate diversions of patients from the ED because of patient backlogs. Diversions are a major concern for patients needing immediate treatment in the ED.

“Having the most up-to-date information available to us is invaluable for our management huddles,” says Kim Jordan, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at LVHN. “We leave these meetings every day knowing exactly what we need to know to provide the best possible care to our patients.”

For such innovative use of information technology and analytics as well as adoption and utilization of EMR functionality, LVHN also has achieved a Stage 7 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics designation for both inpatient EMR use in its Allentown-based hospitals and for ambulatory EMR use in 150 of its outpatient clinic locations. Only 4.8 percent of U.S., non-governmental hospitals and 9.9 percent of outpatient facilities have reached this top level HIMSS designation. LVHN received the designation in May.

“The EMR Adoption Model Stage 7 level and the Most Wired awards assess how modern information technology is used to support clinicians and patients, which is the core goal LVHN has for its technology use,” Minear says. “We’ve been able to achieve these honors due to the dedication and efforts of thousands of colleagues across our entire health network. Their adoption of the best practices needed to manage patient care in a modern digital record is the core effort behind these awards.”

Other H&HN designations LVHN has earned through the years include Most Wireless (2003; 2007-10), winner of the H&HN Innovator Award (2006 and 2007) and finalist for the Innovator Award (2011 and 2012).