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HIMSS: Meaningful use (what else?) dominates priority lists

March 1, 2010
by kate
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At this morning’s media luncheon, HIMSS announced the results of its 21st annual Leadership Survey. Not surprisingly, hospital and health system leaders are most focused on implementing EMR and CPOE systems and – of course – achieving meaningful use.

According to HIMSS, 59 percent of the 398 respondents said they plan to make additional IT investments to position themselves to quality for ARRA-HITECH incentives, with 72 percent saying that they expect their IT operational budgets to increase.

And where are they looking to spend money? Clinical systems (35 percent of respondents are focused on EMRs and 27 percent on CPOE).

In order to gear up for these roll-outs, two-thirds of organizations polled expect to increase the number of IT staff. Last year, the number dipped down to below half – so this statistic is certainly a positive one.

The bad news is that an alarming number of respondents don’t believe their organizations are prepared to meet the deadlines to quality for HITECH funding. By 2011, less than half (47 percent) believe they’ll be eligible, and it only gets worse from there (32 percent by 2012, 13 percent by 2013 and just three percent by 2014 and 2015).

The numbers are daunting. But while it looks bleak for some, the organizations that are already live on EMR and CPOE are surging ahead. Allana Cummings, CIO at Children’s Hospital in Omaha, Neb., says that by implementing clinical systems, her organization has been able to improve patient care while also increasing operational efficiencies.

Sounds “meaningful” to me.



Thanks for ending on the optimistic note.

We, and I'll speak for all enterprise vendors here, also see this as a "best of times, worst of times" scenario. Our clients who have made the time and monetary investments in CPOE (and the requisite and pre-requisite adoption by nursing and pharmacy) over the past decade, the MU path although steep is path of extending successful roll-outs.

The other positive is that the interoperability, through CCD document models, has been greatly accelerated by the HITECH stimulus. This is huge. It makes possible degrees of exchange that enable long-desired processes of care coordination.

The discussions in our booths are much more focused on leaps forward based on now established standards which we're pretty much all demonstrating in the interoperability pavilion.

The glass is clearly half full. At least for those with experience born out of years of prior hard work. That's true for providers and vendors.