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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.

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