As hospitals and health systems across America grapple with achieving meaningful use of electronic medical records (EMRs), Accenture (Dublin) has released a survey of chief information officers (CIOs) from health systems with advanced use of EMRs that suggests hospitals must think and act differently to drive successful EMR implementation and clinical transformation. Change management is as critical to success as information technology (IT) planning and execution.
Less than 1 percent of health systems achieved mature use of EMRs in 2009 and, by Accenture’s estimate, roughly 50 percent of U.S. hospitals are at risk of not meeting the demands of the federal requirements and incurring penalties by 2015. Medicare-based penalties to be imposed as a part of healthcare reform are estimated at $3 million to $4 million per annum for a 500-bed hospital, making implementation a primary concern for many hospital executives.
Other key findings from the survey include:
• Most major health systems underestimate the time and cost associated with implementing advanced EMR functions.
• Hospitals can expect spikes in operating costs over the course of the EMR journey. Benchmarking shows that hospitals experience an 80 percent increase in IT operating expenses while transitioning to EMRs.
• When it comes to healthcare IT resources to support EMR implementation, there is a significant gap in qualified personnel. Over the next year, it is estimated that 90 percent of hospitals will invest to install/upgrade EMRs, driving even greater competition for top IT talent.
• True EMR success means working and thinking differently to optimize the investment over the long term.