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eHI Survey: Government Programs Need Better Coordination

July 2, 2010
by David Raths
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Survey reveals concern that processes intended to accelerate health IT adoption may backfire

An eHealth Initiative (eHI) survey of more than 500 officials from health systems and hospitals found that, although a majority believe significant progress has been made on health IT, many providers are concerned about the lack of coordination across government health and health IT initiatives.

Besides the 12-question survey of stakeholders, eHI’s National Progress Report included the input of multi-stakeholder committees co-chaired by experts charged with assessing progress in several focus areas.

They found that stakeholders are concerned that the “processes and metrics for accelerating adoption and use of health and health IT and HIE [health information exchange] may actually deter provider participation.” The report also revealed concern that concurrent programs driving payment reform and coding updates could discourage health IT adoption.

In a July 1 webinar about the report, Hank Fanberg, director of technology advocacy for 50-hospital Christus Health System based in Dallas, explained that many providers are concerned about their ability to coordinate the move to ICD-10 coding, get providers using electronic health records and help them use health information exchange. “A lot of them feel that it is almost impossible to accomplish all this in the timeframe proposed,” Fanberg said. Many are concerned they don’t have the time or resources to achieve the goals described, while others are skeptical about whether the government is going to follow through on incentive payments, and are taking a wait-and-see approach, he added.

Many people in primary care are skeptical about the approach the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act takes in terms of incentives, said William Jessee, M.D., president and CEO of the Medical Group Management Association. He noted that a lot of physicians still have a bad taste in their mouths because of their experience with the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) program, for which many submitted information and didn’t qualify for incentives.

Other key findings of the report include:
• Sixty-one percent of respondents agree or strongly agree with the statement that significant progress has been made in the successful adoption and use of health IT since 2007.
• Sixty-six percent disagree or strongly disagree with the statement that current outreach to consumers about the value of electronic health records and health information exchange is effective.
• More than 55 percent of respondents disagree or strongly disagree with the statement that differences between federal and state privacy laws are not a barrier to ensuring protection of consumers’ rights to healthcare privacy.
To read the full report, go to: