FARMINGTON — The Information Technology department at Franklin Memorial Hospital has been named among the nation’s first-ever “Where to Work: Best Hospital IT Departments” according to Healthcare IT News Dec. 7 issue, a publication of MedTech Media. The FMH department was ranked third in the small hospital category and was the only Maine hospital selected.

Critical Insights, a market research company based in Portland was selected by Healthcare IT News to create and administer a statistically valid program that would identify exceptional hospital IT workplaces. The process included a nomination period, followed by a confidential, online 67-question employee survey in which at least half of the department’s staff had to complete, and, finally, a data-analysis period to determine the top hospitals.

Departments considered were graded in seven categories: day-to-day work, IT team, management, hospital leadership, workplace culture, training and development, and compensation. Overall, 179 hospitals were nominated for the awards.

Ralph Johnson, FMH chief information officer, believes that his 18-member IT staff’s strongest traits are their ability to work together, collaborate with other departments, and rejoice in seeing each other’s successes. “They all bring their expertise to the table and they don’t have boundaries. Nearly half has a nursing background and understands how IT can improve the safety and quality of health care in hospitals.”

Rebecca Ryder, FMH president, said that being named to the list was an achievement that again demonstrates that the IT department has tremendous vision, leadership, and skills. “This award is about our superb IT staff and I wish to commend them, yet I additionally want to praise our entire staff for embracing the new technologies that improve efficiency, quality and safety of health care, and help control costs.”

Celebrating success is important at Franklin Memorial. In July, FMH was named among the nation’s most wired hospitals based on the results of the 2011 Most Wired Survey Benchmarking Study released in Hospitals & Health Networks. “We had each person in the department sign the announcement, then we framed it for all to see,” said Johnson.

FMH IT staff include Ralph Johnson, chief information officer; Bill Colwell, RN, director of information services; Kathy Horton, RN, manager of clinical applications; Chuck Pritchard, senior project manager; Frank Hosea, business systems analyst; Wayne Moody, business systems analyst; Dee Robinson, LPN, clinical documentation specialist; Gearry Judkins, senior network administrator; Patrick O’Brien, network administrator; Zebulon Luce, network administrator; Israel Roy, network administrator; Geordan Brown, network administrator; Maureen McCool, database analyst; Catherine White, clinical systems analyst; Muriel Armstrong, clinical systems analyst; Julie Welch, clinical systems analyst; Pat Chick, RN, clinical systems analyst; and Denise Ouellette, RN, clinical systems analyst.