Technology's Role in Quality Improvement and Operational Efficiency

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SUMMARYTechnology for technology's sake is never a good idea. There must be a purpose behind it. It must help us do our jobs better. Technology allows healthcare to remain affordable and, as such, accessible. Technology must increase access to care, improve safety, make test results more reliable, and help teams communicate better for a seamless care experience.Avera Health, a health system based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, comprises 330 facilities in 100 communities in five states. Sponsored by the Benedictine and Presentation Sisters, Avera is a healthcare ministry whose employees deliver high-quality care with compassion. We have been early innovators in using technology to deliver a high standard of service.Avera has been nationally recognized for its innovation. For 18 of the past 19 years, the system has been named to Hospitals & Health Networks magazine's list of Health Care's Most Wired and has been designated as “advanced” for reasons that include the development of the most extensive telehealth network serving rural healthcare facilities. Avera also won the Most Wired Innovator Award in 2011 and 2012. Avera's flagship 545-bed tertiary facility, Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center, has received Stage 7 recognition from HIMSS Analytics.Avera leaders have developed a spirit of inquiry and a culture of innovation. We have fostered change by aligning our care into service lines that help ensure that wherever people walk in our doors, they will receive the same quality care. In several cases, we have innovated through strategic partnerships. In this article, we describe how technology helps sustain our culture of innovation.

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