A survey of hospital CIOs, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Optum Insititute, suggests major strides in adoption of electronic medical record systems, but major concerns remain about lack of interoperability.
The survey of 301 U.S. hospital CIOs explored overall progress in digitizing medical care, current health information technology (HIT) capabilities, plans for HIT expansion, stage of “meaningful use” progress, value of interoperability and benefits and challenges associated with technology use. The survey (Health Information Technology: Hospital CIOs) was conducted online by Harris Interactive between December 2011 and January 2012.
Nearly nine out of 10 hospitals surveyed (87 percent) now have EMR systems in place — up significantly since 2011, when the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) reported that only slightly more than half of CIOs had a fully operational electronic health record in at least one facility in their organization. Seventy percent of CIOs report their systems have attested to meaningful use 1 criteria (MU1) and 75 percent anticipated being able to meet expected meaningful use 2 (MU2) criteria by 2014.
“Hospitals are making substantial gains in adopting electronic medical records, participating in health information exchanges and achieving ‘meaningful use,’” said Simon Stevens, chairman of the Optum Institute. “But hospital chief information officers are clearly signaling that technology gaps remain, genuine interoperability remains elusiv, and – as a result – most U.S. hospitals are still some way off from being fully ready to play their part in managing population health and its related financial risk.”
Click through for survey results regarding electronic medical record adoption and concerns, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Optum Institute.
CIOs are making new investments to modify their systems, link with other systems, purchase upgrades or buy entirely new systems. Nearly 80 percent of respondents said they had to modify their system significantly in some way or purchase another system entirely. For those that have implemented EMR and HIE systems, hospital CIOs report that new capabilities have so far raised hospital costs, not reduced them.
Almost two-thirds of hospitals said they own their own health information exchange (HIE), but key care information, including hospital discharge information, computerized prescriptions, physician clinical notes and lists of patient allergies and medications, is available only about half the time.
Among those participating in an HIE, data is on average accessible for only 60 percent of patients through the HIE. Two-thirds of respondents found data accuracy/completeness to represent the biggest business and technical issue they faced in using HIE capabilities, followed by inaccessible proprietary systems and high costs of interoperability.
For those that have an EMR system, the largest barriers to complying with meaningful use requirements include cost (57 percent), sufficient time (55 percent) and legacy system incompatibility (34 percent).
Recognizing the benefits of cloud computing, 59 percent of those who have an HIE/EMR system plan to invest in cloud-based open systems. Access to applications and additional functionality were identified as the primary reasons for cloud investments.
Hospital CIOs report being more prepared to assume broader responsibility in managing patient care than financial risk. Still, only one in four CIOs report that hospitals in their community are extremely/very prepared for increased responsibilities from managing patient care, and only 15 percent say they are extremely/very prepared for managing the associated financial risks.