Virtua, a four-hospital system serving southern New Jersey, is so deeply committed to information technology that when it opened a new data center, the board of trustees held a meeting there, sitting among the rows of servers. That same board has a standing IT committee that meets every two months, along with the usual committees for audit, finance and quality.
The data center is only the tip of a $169 million-and-counting capital investment in IT that's transformed the organization into a leader in using data for clinical care.
When Virtua decided about 10 years ago to build a replacement for one of its facilities, President and CEO Richard Miller made a pitch to his board that seemed somewhat radical at the time. The new hospital should use the most advanced information technology it could afford from the day it opened, and minimize paper in favor of easily analyzed electronic record-keeping. Though bold, that plan in itself was not unique. But Miller thought the organization should use the long planning and building period to switch the other three hospitals over to the new IT first.