Picture this: A nurse needs immediate feedback regarding a patient. Rather than fumbling around with the call system or a pager, she unlatches the iPhone that's clipped to her pants, quickly accesses the clinical directory and, thanks to real-time updates, knows who is online and available to help.

The Rapid Communication System, in place at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, helps to ensure that messages are not only getting to the right clinician, but being answered. The iPhones are also linked to more advanced workflows, including giving clinicians access to the EHR. And in case you are wondering, the video and gaming function are disabled, so this isn't your teen's iPhone.

Or how about this: With the push of a button, patients in lightly staffed rural clinics and EDs can be seen by specialists at larger facilities 24 hours a day. Deployed by Avera in 2009, eEmergency has saved more than $13.4 million in patient transfer costs, according to the health system. Nearly one-quarter of visits via the telemedicine program are for cardiac patients.

These are just two examples of how hospitals are pushing the use of IT to new levels. Both Texas Children's and Avera have been honored in recent years as Most Wired Innovators. The recognition is handed out annually as part of our Most Wired Survey. An independent panel of CIOs reviews numerous submissions from hospitals and health systems. Winners and finalists are selected based on a variety of factors, which are outlined here.

You can find profiles of past Innovator Award winners here. And, importantly, your hospital still has a chance to submit an entry for this year's contest.

We've extended the deadline to Tuesday, March 25. And since you've already filled out your brackets for the NCAA basketball tourney, well, you have no excuse but to apply.

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