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HIMSS Survey Says: Clinical Systems Top Interest

April 10, 2007
by Mark Hagland
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IT executives feel that improving the quality of care and patient satisfaction are the top business issues driving healthcare IT spending, according to the Chicago-based Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual HIMSS Leadership Survey.

More specifically, the 360 respondents to the annual survey, 60 percent of whom were CIOs this year, cited implementing technology to reduce medical errors and promote patient safety as the top IT priority both now and for the next two years. Meanwhile, nine of the top 10 healthcare applications identified as being important for the future were clinical systems, with computerized provider order entry (CPOE) and electronic medical records (EMRs), tied at 47 percent, as the most important applications.

Interestingly, EMR implementation seems to be making significant progress. This year, 32 percent of respondents reported that they had a "fully operational system," versus 24 percent last year and 18 percent two years ago. "There could be some debate about the definitions and numbers; but the trend is very clear," said H. Stephen Lieber, the association's president and CEO.

Survey respondents cited lack of financial support, a perpetual issue, as the most significant barrier to implementation (at 20 percent), followed by lack of staffing resources (16 percent), and vendor inability to effectively deliver product (15 percent). A summary of the survey's results can be found on the HIMSS Web site, at www.himss.org/ASP/researchHome.asp

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