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Published on November 01, 2010

CKHS Named Among Nation's 'Most Wired' Health Systems for 10th Time

For the 10th time, Crozer-Keystone was named one of the top 100 “Most Wired” health systems in the nation by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine, the journal of the American Hospital Association. 

The annual feature is based on the magazine’s Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Survey. The survey recognizes organizations for their achievements in four focus areas: infrastructure, business and administrative management, clinical quality and safety, and the care continuum. This year, 555 hospitals and health systems completed the survey, representing 1,280 hospitals. Crozer-Keystone is one of only six hospitals/health systems in Pennsylvania to be honored.

The “Most Wired” achievement once again recognizes Crozer-Keystone’s commitment to using information technology to help caregivers provide the best patient care, according to Joan Richards, president and chief executive officer of Crozer-Keystone Health System.

“I would like to congratulate and thank all of the dedicated professionals from throughout the health system who once again helped Crozer-Keystone earn ‘Most Wired’ recognition,” Richards says. “Making patient care delivery more efficient and safe is the department’s top priority.”

“Advances in information technology allow healthcare providers to be more efficient and effective, from following evidence-based medicine protocols to avoiding medical errors. Through the hard work by our clinical teams and our Information Services professionals, we continue to implement these advances with great success,” says Don Reed, vice president of Information Services for Crozer-Keystone.

Some highlights of Crozer-Keystone’s technological innovation:

Electronic Medical Records

Officials from Hospitals & Health Networks say this year's survey, conducted in cooperation with the American Hospital Association, McKesson Corp. and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), included new and revised questions based on concepts of meaningful use.

Beginning in 2011, those physicians and hospitals who can demonstrate “meaningful use” of a certified electronic medical records (EMR) system will receive incentive payments through additional Medicare reimbursement.  Beginning in 2015, those who have not achieved “meaningful use” will be subject to certain downward adjustments in their Medicare reimbursement rates.

Crozer-Keystone continues to be a leader in the implementation of EMR systems. The Centricity® EMR system, which enables physicians and staff to document patient visits and securely exchange medical information with other providers, has been implemented in more than 35 Crozer-Keystone Health Network practices, with more than 120 full-time physicians using the system.

Through the EMR system, practices can connect instantly and securely to patients’ Laboratory, Pathology, Radiology, Cardiology and other results, discharge summaries and dictated consults. The system also allows physicians to prescribe medications electronically. Physicians also enjoy the benefits of direct links to a wealth of clinical knowledge, including UpToDate, LexiComp, and a virtual library that includes PubMed, Ovid and EbscoHost.

The health system also continues to work with GE Healthcare to offer the same EMR package to community physicians who have a relationship with the health system. Several physician practices have implemented the system.

Medication Administration Checking

Medication administration checking, also known as MAK, is an electronic system that helps to ensure that the right patient receives the right medicine, at the right dose, at the right time and through the right route (oral, topical, nasal, etc.). MAK was introduced on the Telemetry Unit at Taylor Hospital in early June. As of Sept. 22, MAK is being used on all inpatient units at Taylor. Plans are for the system to be implemented at all Crozer-Keystone hospitals, and it is part of the health system’s comprehensive efforts to use the latest technologies to ensure patient safety. 

Barcodes are at the heart of the MAK system. All medications used at Taylor now have a barcode. Patients have their own barcode on their identification armbands. Caregivers have their own barcode. Nurse station devices and mobile carts on the unit help to accommodate the barcode processing. All inpatient rooms at Taylor have a wall-mounted computer, bringing this technology to the patients bedside.

When nurses who use the system want to give a patient a medication, they scan their own barcode, scan the medication and then scan the patient. The system matches the scanned information with the information entered into the system to ensure that the administration of medication is correct.  

In addition to ensuring that the medication administration is correct, the MAK system automatically checks for potential problems, such as patient allergies and drug contraindications. It also aids clinical staff in documentation. Physicians using the online Net Access system can review patient medications on any computer with Internet access.

Computerized Provider Order Entry

Another important technology being implemented at CKHS that is aimed at improving patient safety is computerized provider order entry, also known as CPOE. A pilot of CPOE began at Taylor in late June and has been rolled out to all inpatient units. Phase 1 of CPOE is currently being used by Patient Care Secretaries and will be used by nursing as well.

Once Phase 1 is complete, the CPOE system will be used for Physician Order Entry. CPOE will be facilitated by the use of order sets, which provide convenience and decision support for providers.

CPOE integrates the automated entry of physician orders with Laboratory, Radiology and Pharmacy systems. It allows physician orders to be automatically checked for a variety of contraindications, including food, drug and environmental allergies, duplicate ingredients and therapy and maximum/minimum dose checking.

With the use of CPOE, the delay that normally occurs between handwritten orders and actual patient care will be eliminated, allowing patients to receive medications and tests faster. Entering orders directly can also greatly reduce errors that may occur with handwritten orders, reduce the chance of adverse drug interactions and help to ensure compliance with clinical best practices.

Connecting with Crozer-Keystone

Crozer-Keystone also continues to use information technology to enhance how patients and their family members interact with the health system.

For instance, the health system offers a web-based patient portal found at that provides patients with convenient access to Crozer-Keystone Health Network physicians.

Through myCKHealth, patients can access a secure site that allows them to access their medical records; communicate with their physicians’ offices; request an appointment, referral or medical refill; and pay their bills. The portal is currently being used by patients in several Crozer-Keystone Health Network practices, and is being expanded to all CKHN practices in the next few months.

In addition, the Crozer-Keystone external website,, continues to expand its offerings with more audio-visual content, interactive appointment request forms, e-newsletters and updated health news and information.

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