MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Fresh off its designation as one of the nation’s Most Wired hospitals, WVU Healthcare has again been recognized for using the most advanced information technology. This time, WVU Healthcare has recently been included by “U.S. News and World Report” on its inaugural list of Most Connected Hospitals, which it describes as institutions that are “digitally forward and clinically excellent.”

“We were very pleased to receive the designation of Most Connected. We believe clinical information technology will make hospital care safer, more reliable and, in the end, less costly,” Rich King, vice president and chief information officer for WVU Healthcare, said. “Recognition like this helps keep all of us focused and motivated to use information technology to provide a connected experience of care to the patients we serve and allows us to compare our services against other top-ranked health systems.”

According to U.S. News, the 118 hospitals on the list “met twin standards of solid medicine and early adoption of information technology.” The list was compiled from two sources. First, U.S. News looked at which hospitals it ranked among the best in the nation or identified as “high performing” in at least one medical specialty in the 2011-2012 Best Hospitals and Best Children’s Hospitals rankings. WVU Healthcare was identified as “high performing” in eight specialties: cancer; ear, nose and throat; geriatrics; gynecology; nephrology; orthopaedics; pulmonology; and urology.

Those hospitals were then compared to a list of institutions identified as early adopters of electronic medical record technology by HIMSS Analytics, a division of the non-profit Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, which evaluates hospitals’ progression toward full incorporation of health information technology in all aspects of clinical care. HIMSS ranks hospitals in stages 0 to 7. Stage 0 hospitals have not yet started incorporation, while Stage 7 is fully incorporated. WVU Healthcare is Stage 6.

“This designation is evidence of WVU Healthcare’s commitment to providing state-of-the-art medical care that incorporates the use of health information technology to improve quality and safety for all of our patients,” Kevin Halbritter, M.D., chief medical information officer, said.

In recent years, WVU Healthcare has steadily implemented information systems designed to improve patient outcomes through greater accuracy, accessibility and security. The introductions of Merlin, the electronic medical records project, and MyWVUChart, the online portal that allows patients to view their own medical records, have proven to be major advances in patient safety and quality of care. More than 12,000 patients now access MyWVUChart, and the Merlin system links WVU Healthcare’s many clinics.

To see the entire list of Most Connected Hospitals, go to

For more information: Angela Jones, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
asj: 08-10-11