Healthcare executives support electronic health records (EHRs) and a move to even wider communication amongst technology systems in the future, according to a new survey from financial services firm CIT Group and Harris Poll.
The survey of 164 healthcare executives found that most of their organizations’ EHR systems goes beyond their own system and communicates with other providers. In general, the transition to an EHR system has been smooth and on track financially, and any obstacles with implementation have been relatively uncommon, primarily involving personnel (like convenience, training or ease). Communicating outside of their own network appears to be a key goal for the future. Most executives with currently limited communication say their business would like to expand the level of communication and is considering putting an even greater IT investment behind this goal, according to the survey data.
As such, most executives anticipate a continued, and increasing, reliance on technology to help reduce costs and increase quality. But with higher stakes, the challenge will be how to seamlessly incorporate technology industry wide without compromising security, the researchers noted.
What’s more, mergers and acquisitions continue to play a critical role in the growth of the healthcare industry, the survey revealed. When considering investment and financing plans, significantly more executives are considering acquisitions than even a year ago. And behind the opening of new practices, acquisitions are pointed to as a source of growth in the coming year. Nearly two in three healthcare executive respondents have personally been part of a merger or acquisition in the past year, much more commonly as the purchaser than the purchasee.
Further, approximately three in four healthcare executives feel that their sector is on track with the rest of the industry on how to best measure outcomes. And there is near unanimity that technology, data and quality of care will all play a role in measurement. But that is where the consensus across executives ends. They diverge on the best way to measure “success” now and in the near-term future, the survey found. Between 20 percent and 33 percent of executive respondents placed a priority today (in descending order) on satisfaction, profits, customer retention and clinical outcomes. And there is no uniformity (either philosophically or in actuality) on whether to align healthcare payments to outcomes, though the inclination is somewhat more positive than negative, according to the data.