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Healthcare Organizations Haven't Maximized Full Potential of Meaningful Use

March 18, 2014
by John DeGaspari
| Reprints
Lack of resources cited as biggest barrier to meaningful use achievement; ICD-10 'biggest topic in HIT' in 2014

According to a recent survey conducted by Pittsburgh-based Stoltenberg Consulting Inc., 70 percent of respondents noted that, while their organizations have met meaningful use requirements, they have not been able to maximize the full potential of meaningful use. The survey was conducted at the 2014 Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual conference held recently in Orlando, Fla.

The survey also revealed that lack of resources (50 percent) is or has been the biggest barrier to achieving meaningful use, followed by restricted time frames (23 percent), lack of buy-in from their organizations (15 percent), and competing health IT projects (12 percent).

In a prepared statement, Shane Pilcher, vice president, Stoltenberg Consulting, explained that the survey responses reflect what may be organizations' misunderstanding of what meaningful use is and how it should be approached. “While many organizations may view meaningful use as a must-do regulatory requirement, it is actually much more. Organizations need to view meaningful use as a strategy, discipline and process that facilitates healthcare transformation and eases transitions to initiatives such as full patient engagement, value-based accountable care and population health management. On the other hand, organizations most likely to maximize the full potential of meaningful use are those that treat it like a journey that, ultimately, will secure a future for promising developments such as mobile health, remote monitoring, care collaboration, medical home, population health management and accountable care.”

The Stoltenberg survey identified ICD-10 (47 percent) as the biggest topic in HIT in 2014, followed by big data (27 percent), EHR implementation (16 percent) and meaningful use (10 percent). Pilcher noted that with the deadline for transitioning to ICD-10 fast approaching (it is currently scheduled for October 1, 2014), health IT departments and others should ensure the necessary steps have been taken to support their organization's ICD-10 transition.

Another area the Stoltenberg survey addressed was big data. A majority of all responses (40 percent) to the question, "If big data is the next best thing, why do many HIT leaders view it as something in the distant future?" indicated that most healthcare organizations don't know what to do with all their data.

Pilcher commented that “organizations need to understand and differentiate big data from the more appropriate ‘smart healthcare data.” Today, they are collecting data, which usually gets stored somewhere inside data warehouses in the hopes that it will eventually be used in the next five years or so. If organizations aren't monitoring what they're saving however, the quality and quantity of the data will not be sufficient when they are ready to use it. These organizations might think they have several years of historical data to draw from when they begin their analytics but in reality, the data is often not the quality, quantity or type that they need.”

He emphasized that “smart healthcare data is the key focusing on the type of data they have, the volume of data, and the validity of data. They must make sure that what they're collecting is what they're expecting.”

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