At the HIMSS Media Lunch on Monday at HIMSS17 in Orlando, executives and elected leaders of the Chicago-based Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society revealed the results of this year’s association survey, now called the “2017 Leadership and Workforce Survey,” whose format and questions differed this year from in past years. This year, as Lorren Pettit, senior vice president for HIS and research at HIMSS North America, explained to the assembled media, he and his colleagues at the association wanted to focus particularly on priorities, with for the first time adding the responses of vendors and consultants (grouped together) to key questions in the survey, compared to those of healthcare IT executives from provider organizations.
Pettit noted both convergences and contrasts between the responses of the two broad groups—those of providers and those of vendors/consultants—to some key questions around priorities.
Looking at a set of 18 possible priorities for the next 12 months in healthcare, Pettit noted that the top few priorities were more or less closely shared by healthcare providers on the one hand, and also by vendors and consultants on the other. “Quality and patient safety outcomes” ranked number 1 out of 18 among provider respondents, and number 2 among vendors and consultants. “Privacy, security, and cybersecurity” ranked number 3 among providers, and number 1 among vendors and consultants. And “care coordination, culture of care, and population health” ranked 4 among providers and 3 among vendors and consultants.
On the other hand, the survey also uncovered some very sharp contrasts between the two broad groups, provider executives on the one hand, and vendors and consultants on the other. While providers ranked electronic health records (EHRs) as their number 2 issue out of 18, vendors and consultants ranked that priority only number 8. And while the “business of healthcare and new payment models” ranked perhaps surprisingly quite low at only number 10 among providers, that priority was number 4 among vendors and consultants. Similarly contrasted were responses around the priority “health information exchange, interoperability, and data access”: providers ranked that priority as number 9, while vendors and consultants ranked it number 5.
In other survey results, HIMSS researchers reached out not only to hospital leaders, but also to those in ambulatory settings and in long-term care. They found that while 78 percent of hospitals have CIOs, only 45 percent of ambulatory care organizations have CIOs, and only 32 percent of long-term care organizations do. Similarly, while 65 percent of hospitals have a senior clinical IT leader—a CMIO or someone with a similar title—only 29 percent of ambulatory care organizations have a CMIO, and only 27 percent of long-term care organizations do. Even more dramatically, only 41 percent of hospitals have a CISO or other senior information security leader, while only 23 percent of ambulatory care organizations, and only 21 percent of long-term care organizations do.
Michael Zaroukian, M.D., a primary care physician who is the CMIO at the 733-bed Sparrow Health System in Lansing, Michigan, and the current chair of the HIMSS North America board, and the incoming chair of the HIMSS board, said with regard to the subject priorities, as elucidated in the survey’s results, “Payment for value will remain a key and critical factor. To Ginni Rometty’s comments this morning, that combination of getting smarter and using cognitive computing and artificial intelligence in the right framework and with the right trust in the data and its curation, we really do have an opportunity there. We need to have providers feel high trust and high confidence in the data” and systems. “Interoperability—we need to do much more with making systems usable. And of course, usability is a combination of training, alignment around goals, getting physicians and other members of the care team aligned around who will do what and when. And that includes non-clinical providers, including schools, fitness, everyone else. So it’s essential for us not to Similar miss the mark with respect to care, to reach out and engage. And for those who put the patient first in their priorities and really live what they say in that regard, it becomes an easier ‘sell,’ if that’s the word, to make sure you’re incorporating technology.”
Michael Zaroukian, M.D. discusses the HIMSS survey
Dr. Zaroukian added that “For us in our super-CIN [clinically integrated network], we’re doing a wide range of things. And as we talk across health systems, down to solo practices in rural communities, we need to make sure they have the connectivity they need… to stay in practice and have the support they need. One of the things I’m very focused on is team-based care. I spoke at the HIMSS/AMDIS Symposium yesterday—and while it may be a bit exaggerated to say that providers don’t want to be data clerks, one of the incredible benefits of this venue and event to collaborate, we can see from the survey what the areas of interest are, and we can compare that with our current efforts, and perhaps look back out into the wild, as I like to call it, and make sure people are aware” of all the dynamics shaping healthcare IT right now.”
In subsequent comments, Tom Leary, vice president of government affairs at HIMSS North America, said, of the association’s advocacy priorities, “We’re going to focus on the advances in the 20th-Century Cures Act. In particular, we are focused, first, on supporting the NIST cyber framework; second, on elevating the HHS CISO [the chief information security officer at the Department of Health and Human Services] to have an external-facing role across other agencies. We’d like the person in that position to leverage learnings from other sectors. And finally, we’re going to focus on promoting an increase in the number of qualified, certified cybersecurity officials in patient care organizations.”