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Survey: Advanced Tech Users Getting Positive Outcomes from EHRs

January 11, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Nearly nine in 10 provider organizations with advanced electronic health record (EHR) environments identified at least one positive outcome from their use of an EHR, according to findings from the 2016 HIMSS Health Information Technology Value survey.

The survey from the Chicago-based Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) reflect the feedback from 52 senior IT leaders representing HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model (EMRAM) Stage 6 or 7 hospitals and HIMSS Davies winners, during the summer and fall of 2015.

HIMSS Analytics developed the EMR Adoption Model in 2005 as a methodology for evaluating the progress and impact of electronic medical record systems for hospitals in the HIMSS Analytics database. There are eight stages (0-7) that measure a hospital’s implementation and utilization of information technology applications. The final stage, Stage 7, represents an advanced patient record environment. Meanwhile, since 1994, the HIMSS Nicholas E. Davies Award of Excellence has recognized outstanding achievement of organizations that have utilized health IT to substantially improve patient outcomes while achieving return on investment.

The survey found that 83 percent of advanced EHR users report benefits in clinical staff quality performance. The survey identified and profiled patterns in health IT value experiences leveraging the HIMSS STEPS model. The HIMSS STEPS model, one of several components in the Health IT Value Suite, is a framework which categorizes health IT value experiences into five general areas: satisfaction, treatment/clinical, electronic information/data, patient engagement and population management and savings. While value expressions were registered in all five areas of the STEPS model, the findings from this study reveal that treatment/clinical benefits were most common to EHR leading healthcare organizations.

To this end, according to the survey’s findings, 52 percent of respondents reported increased efficiencies in the area of clinical staff productivity, while nearly all respondents (92 percent) indicated their organization measures the impact of their EHR on at least one of the clinical processes included in this study. Regarding savings, a majority of respondents (90 percent) reported that their organization had a formal measurement process in place for at least one financial metric.  More than three-quarters (81 percent) reported that their organization documented a positive impact in the area of savings.

Further, about three-quarters of respondents (73 percent) indicated their organization measured at least one of the electronic data/information metrics included in this survey.  More than half (58 percent) reported that their organization had documented a positive impact in at least one of the areas included in the survey. The area with the most positive impact as a result of their organization’s EHR implementation was the ability to share information among providers; this was identified by half of survey respondents.

Additionally, while two- thirds of survey respondents (69 percent) reported that their organization has implemented a formal patient engagement strategy, only 42 percent currently have a population health strategy in place at this time. Moreover, respondents reported they are beginning to see a positive impact with respect to their EHR implementation in a number of areas, including use of a patient portal (61 percent) and distribution of patient education materials (50 percent). Respondents also indicated that “competing priorities” was the biggest barrier to driving value from their EHR implementation.

“This survey evaluates the progress the healthcare industry has made in deriving value from their health IT investments,” Pat Wise, vice president of HIMSS, said in a statement. “The findings illustrate that although many challenges still exist, measuring the impact of the EHR on treatment and clinical areas is happening amongst healthcare innovators. This survey demonstrates that health IT is creating a positive shift within healthcare organizations, one that’s deriving quality care and improved outcomes.”


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