While politicians continue to rail about the pros and cons of health care reform, it’s become pretty clear that Federal government stimulus spending in the health care sector is having a profound effect on setting IT priorities.
The 21st annual Leadership Survey conducted by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) of 398 health care IT professionals shows dramatic increase in developing electronic health care records systems and a huge gain in the amount of influence that Federal regulations are playing in terms of setting IT priorities.
The good news is that primary focus now seems to be squarely on improving the overall quality of health care and the reduction of human errors.
The only real question is how many health care organizations will really be able to put systems in place to qualify for funding under a somewhat ambiguous definition of exactly what meaningful use entails when it comes to deploying electronic medical records.
Click through to see priorities for health care IT professionals for the coming year.
In this case, Federal money does talk as health care organizations make qualifying for incentive payments a top priority.
And many of them plan to qualify for those payments by 2011.
Electronic medical records gain as top clinical IT priority.
And slightly more organizations are further along when it comes to implementation.
Resistance to health information exchange starts to slacken.
Improving patient care moves back to the top of the agenda.
Government regulations rapidly trump all other issues.
And those regulations drive interest in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funds.
But even with available stimulus funds, budget concerns are still a top priority.
The good news is that IT budget allocations are definitely on the increase.
But electronic medical records are only half the story for the increase.
Which means that IT staffing requirements for this sector will expand as well.
Confidence in security systems is also higher in 2010.
Improving the quality of health care and the reduction of errors will have the most impact.