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2015 Most Wired Benchmarking Survey Reveals Data Security is Main Focus for Hospitals

Each year the American Hospital Association (AHA) assesses the state of health IT by conducting a survey of U.S hospitals. This week the results of the 17th Annual Healthcare’s ‘Most Wired’ Survey were published. The survey data show hospitals are serious about data security, with theft prevention and breach detection at the top of many hospitals’ priority lists for the year.

After analysis of the responses, the “Most Wired” hospitals, those that had reached the required standard of health IT planning and implementation, were crowned winners. 338 hospitals qualified for consideration, with the results of the vote announced and published in the July issue of Hospitals & Health Networks magazine.

Healthcare’s ‘Most Wired’ Survey


The benchmarking survey measures the pace of information technology adoption in the healthcare industry, and examines how IT is being leveraged to improve quality and safety, business and administrative management processes as well as clinical integration and interoperability.

The VMware-sponsored survey was conducted in partnership with College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), and assessed health IT in 2,213 hospitals across the country, with 741 participants completing the survey (representing 39% of all U.S hospitals.)

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Privacy and Security Measures a Top Priority for Hospitals


Along with improving patient engagement, the top priority for hospitals is ensuring data remains secure. Hospitals are achieving this in a number of ways, with one of the main areas of focus being the incorporation of internal audit systems to assess privacy controls. Security incident event management systems, intrusion detection systems and data backup systems are also being installed by the majority of hospitals.

Top Areas of Healthcare Data Security Growth


Most Wired organizations rated the following as major areas of data security growth in 2015:

  • Privacy Audit Systems (94%)
  • Data Loss Prevention (83%)
  • Single Sign-on (83%)
  • Identity Management (79%)
  • Cybersecurity incident response testing (79%)
  • Provisioning System (77%)


According to Frank Nydam, VMware’s Senior Director of Healthcare, “With the rising number of patient data breaches and cybersecurity attacks threatening the healthcare industry, protecting patient health information is a top priority for hospital customers.”

In a recent press release he said, “Coupled with the incredible technology innovation taking place today, healthcare organizations need to have security as a foundational component of their mobility, cloud and networking strategy and incorporated into the very fabric of the organization”

Patient Portals Prove Popular


Hospitals are striving to improve patient engagement and one of the most popular methods is the introduction of patient portals. Portals are accessible via the internet, or Smartphones and other devices, with 89% of organizations now offering patient portal access via mobiles.

Patient engagement is also being improved by offering mobile applications that can incorporate patient-generated data (67%), self-management tools for dealing with chronic illnesses such as diabetes (63%), and 60% of hospitals are now offering “patient-specific” digital education materials with multi-language support.

IT systems and EHRs have been introduced by 84% of hospitals which allow physicians to view and exchange other facilities’ results, while 76% of EHRs can be used to exchange health information. 81% of Most Wired hospitals now allow patient communication via email.

Physician Portals a Key Factor in Strengthening Physician-Hospital Alignment


The “Most Wired” hospitals have taken great strides towards creating a fully interoperable health system, with digital records accessible from any location. There is still a considerable way to go, but this year’s survey shows healthcare providers are on track. The full report and survey results can be downloaded from H&HN.

Author: Steve Alder is the editor-in-chief of HIPAA Journal. Steve is responsible for editorial policy regarding the topics covered on HIPAA Journal. He is a specialist on healthcare industry legal and regulatory affairs, and has several years of experience writing about HIPAA and other related legal topics. Steve has developed a deep understanding of regulatory issues surrounding the use of information technology in the healthcare industry and has written hundreds of articles on HIPAA-related topics.