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Published on July 12, 2017

Avera Earns National “Most Wired” Designation, Again Named an “Advanced” Health Care System

Most WiredAvera earned national recognition as a technology leader as it was again named to the list of Health Care’s Most Wired. Avera’s leading-edge telehealth network, Avera eCARE™, was one of many reasons Avera once again earned an “advanced” designation out of the 698 participants evaluated in the 2017 survey.

Avera was the sole South Dakota-based health system to receive the Most Wired Advanced award.

The 2017 honors are the 18th time Avera was named on the Most Wired list. The list is based on the 19th annual Health Care’s Most Wired Survey, released by the American Hospital Association (AHA) Health Forum. It estimated more than 2,100 hospitals were evaluated, representing about 40 percent of all U.S. facilities.

The survey noted a number of wide-ranging trends in technology and health care, including ongoing efforts to innovatively use telehealth to provide more robust care, especially in rural settings, and to make it more available. More hospitals are also using technology to culture self-improvement, as well as maintaining protected systems to avoid cybersecurity threats.

“Our two decades of experience in telehealth resources, especially via Avera eCARE, are among the reasons why we again earned the Most Wired Advanced honor in this important survey,” said Jim Veline, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Avera. “We are continuing to lead the way on the path where technology and health care meet, and our ongoing efforts to expand the use of real-time interactive video and computer monitoring are making these crucial, life-saving services available in more locations, both rural and urban settings.”

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
  • Expanding the health services that are offered via “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
  • An easy-to-use patient portal, AveraChart, through which patients can access their medical records and message their care team

Avera and 26 other hospitals and health systems on the “Most Wired Advanced” list meet criteria for “Advanced” in all areas of the survey. Honorees who made this elite list offered characteristics such as:

  • 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

“As a system that modeled early adoption of advanced information technology, we were able to grow a telehealth network that’s unique in terms of U.S. health care, significantly improving patient access to specialists. At the same time, we have continued to emphasize innovative uses of technology to remain on the leading edge of health care information technology,” 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, 2017, is published annually by Health & Hospitals Networks (H&HN). The 2017 Most Wired® survey and benchmarking study is a leading industry barometer measuring information technology (IT) use and adoption among hospitals nationwide. The survey of 698 participants, representing an estimated 2,158 hospitals—almost 40 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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