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Published on July 07, 2016

Avera Earns Most Wired ‘Advanced’ Designation

Once again, Avera has been named to the list of Health Care’s Most Wired. Avera, home of the most robust telehealth network of its kind in the world – Avera eCARE™ – is among an elite group of 19 hospitals and health systems receiving an “advanced” designation out of the 414 named to the list.

The 2016 designation is Avera’s 17th Most Wired award. The list is based on the 18th annual Health Care’s Most Wired Survey, released by the American Hospital Association (AHA) Health Forum.

One key finding of the survey is that Most Wired hospitals are using telehealth to fill gaps in care; provide services 24 hours a day, seven days a week; and expand access to medical specialists.

“Avera has been using telehealth for more than 20 years. Through Avera eCARE, we have applications for ICU, emergency, pharmacy, physician consults and more,” said Jim Veline, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Avera. “Avera is putting telehealth to work like no other health system. Using real-time interactive video and computer monitoring, we’re improving access to care in rural locations and reaching into unique settings such as long-term care centers, schools and prisons.”

Other innovative uses of technology at Avera include:

  • An electronic medical record that’s fully integrated throughout the entire Avera system, and conveniently accessed at bedside computers
  • An easy-to-use patient portal, AveraChart, through which patients can access their medical records and message their care team
  • A “virtual visit” platform known as AveraNow, through which patients can see an Avera provider 27/7 through their mobile phone, tablet or computer, or at specially equipped kiosks in Sioux Falls Hy-Vee stores
  • Use of smartphones with secure messaging, allowing hospital care staff to receive instant monitor alerts and physician orders

Avera and 18 other hospitals and health systems on the “Most Wired Advanced” list meet criteria for “Advanced” in all areas of the Most Wired Survey. Avera Health is the only South Dakota health system on this elite list. Characteristics include:

  • Stronger security systems and faster disaster recovery
  • Electronic tools to improve business processes, clinical quality and patient safety
  • Use of evidence-based electronic order sets
  • Automated review of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services key indicators with compliance alerts
  • Electronic nursing documentation
  • Telehealth offerings
  • Online chronic disease management services for patients at home
  • Use of electronic disease registries
  • Data-driven care management workflow
  • Electronic management of care transitions

“Historically, Avera has been an early adopter of the most advanced information technology, evidenced by our vast telehealth network and other innovative uses of technology. We’ve harnessed the latest technology to improve access to medical specialists, and offer the highest quality of care in urban and rural areas alike. We continue to stay ahead of the curve as a national leader in IT,” Veline added.

“Hospitals are breaking out of their traditional four walls and providing care where and when patients need it,” said Rick Pollack, President and CEO of the AHA. “These Most Wired hospitals exemplify this transformation by harnessing technology, engaging patients and offering services remotely. And, removing policy and other barriers to telehealth will allow even faster adoption of these amazing technologies.”

HealthCare’s Most Wired® survey, conducted between Jan. 15 and March 15, 2016, is published annually by Health & Hospitals Networks (H&HN). The 2016 Most Wired® survey and benchmarking study is a leading industry barometer measuring information technology (IT) use and adoption among hospitals nationwide. The survey of 680 participants, representing an estimated 2,146 hospitals—more than 34 percent of all hospitals in the U.S.—examines how organizations are leveraging IT to improve performance for value-based health care in the areas of infrastructure, business and administrative management; quality and safety; and clinical integration.

Detailed results of the survey and study can be found in the July issue of H&HN. Avera is featured as a leading telehealth provider in this magazine. To read more or see a full list of winners, visit

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