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EXCLUSIVE Survey: Industry Execs Express Confidence in Interoperability Advancements

July 23, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal
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New research from Healthcare Informatics asks leading industry organizations their perceptions on key health IT issues

A survey of 459 leading health IT executives reveals that many industry stakeholders see themselves as far along on their interoperability journeys, but less advanced in their value-based care and risk-based contracting progressions.

The research, conducted this summer by Healthcare Informatics, generated 459 responses from healthcare stakeholders spanning various types. Entities such as ACOs (accountable care organizations) and health information exchanges (HIEs) were the highest-volume responders (43 percent of the total), while healthcare providers (25 percent) ranked next highest in response rate. Additional respondents included vendors, payers, teaching universities, and associations, among others.

The goal of the survey was to gauge industry experts’ perceptions on their internal interoperability advancements, as well as how far along they are in their value-based care and data analytics strategies. What’s more, the survey also asked industry thought leaders about how much of a concern cybersecurity is these days and what steps they are taking to protect themselves from ongoing threats.

Has Functional Interoperability Been Achieved?

While there’s a fair share of industry skeptics when it comes to healthcare’s interoperability evolution, the Healthcare Informatics survey revealed that many respondents believe their own organizations might be further along than outsiders perceive. When asked to rank their organization in its ability to achieve functional interoperability of IT systems in order to meet strategic goals, on a 1-10 scale, the average response was a 7 out of 10.

What’s more, when asked to compare how far along their organizations were in achieving functional interoperability, compared to the rest of the industry, 78 percent of respondents either said they were further along (31 percent) or equally far along (47 percent). The remaining 22 percent of respondents to this question said they were less far along the interoperability path than others.

Another interoperability barrier, according to many, is that leading electronic health record (EHR) vendors are not committed enough to achieving inter-solution interoperability to support patient care organizations’ needs. In this survey, when asked about this, respondents were nearly split on their answers. About 46 percent of those who responded to this question (368 total answers) said they believe that vendors are moving fast enough to achieve inter-solution interoperability, while approximately 54 percent disagreed with that sentiment.

Taking on Risk?

Although survey respondents seemed confident in their interoperability progressions, when asked about value-based care, there was less optimism.  For instance, the average response to the question, “On a scale of 1-10, how far along is your organization in moving toward risk-based contracting?” was just a 5 out of 10.

Further, 54 percent of respondents said they are “just starting” to use data analytics to support value-based care and risk-based contracting, while 12 percent said they have yet to begin. About one-third (33 percent) of respondents to this question said they are far along when it comes to using data analytics for value-based care purposes.

Finally, related to cybersecurity—often cited as the leading cause of concern for health system CIOs and CISOs—the majority of respondents (68 percent) reported that they have begun using advanced cybersecurity strategies and techniques, such as behavioral monitoring, network segmentation, security operational centers, and audit trail strategies.

When asked how big of a concern cybersecurity is to their respective organization, on a 1-10 scale, 7.1 was the average response. But perhaps even more noteworthy is that nearly one-quarter of respondents replied 10 out of 10—the highest level of concern one could express for this question.

For more information on the survey, please reach out to Healthcare Informatics Managing Editor Rajiv Leventhal at RLeventhal@vendomegrp.com

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