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Survey: CHIME Members Prioritize EHR Optimization

September 3, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Seventy percent of responding College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) members say that projects that will help them realize the value of their electronic health record (EHR) will be a top priority in the next year, according to a new survey from Impact Advisors.

The survey results were integrated in Impact Advisors’ latest white paper, “Realizing Value from an Enterprise EHR Investment.” The consulting firm conducted a survey to get a better understanding of how healthcare organizations are attempting to realize more value from their EHR. This primer outlines the survey results collected from more than 40 CHIME members, giving an insight into how market leaders are approaching optimization. Some other key findings include:

  • Only 8 percent of respondents are NOT focused on optimization right now.
  • Nearly 75 percent site “other priorities” as one of the biggest challenges currently.
  • Almost three-quarters plan to seek outside assistance from a services firm in addition to leveraging an internal projects team.

For the purposes of the survey, the term “optimization” means significant efforts to leverage your IT investment in a programmatic way. It was defined for CHIME members as: “Outcomes-based improvement to meet a defined set of objectives.”

Virtually all responding CHIME members indicated their organization had already implemented an enterprise EHR; half said the implementation was completed more than two years ago.  Responding CHIME members expressed mild—but certainly not overwhelming—satisfaction with the improvements their organizations have realized thus far from their EHR. 

For example, less than 20 percent strongly agreed with the statement “I am satisfied with the improvements in clinical and/or operational outcomes my organization has realized to date from our EHR investment,” while an additional two thirds only mildly agreed or “neither agreed nor disagreed.”  Just under 20 percent also strongly agreed with the statement “I am satisfied with the revenue cycle-related improvements my organization has realized to date from our EHR investment,” with almost 60 percent either saying they mildly agreed or that they “neither agreed nor disagreed.”  When asked specifically about quality reporting, respondents were a little more critical.  Just over half agreed (but less than 17 percent strongly) with the statement “I am satisfied with our EHR’s ability to date to effectively support quality initiatives and the associated reporting requirements.”

Overall, 35 percent of CHIME members said their EHR has helped their organization achieve productivity and efficiency goals, while 16 percent said their EHR has hindered it.  However, there is clearly more optimization work that needs to be done, as the most common response – cited by 41 percent of respondents—was that the investment in an enterprise EHR has neither helped nor hindered the realization of productivity and efficiency goals.  

Regarding clinical optimization priorities, the top cited were “improve the quality of care” (mentioned by 84 percent of respondents) and “improve caregiver productivity” (mentioned by almost 60 percent).  The most frequently cited revenue cycle optimization priorities were to “streamline key patient access functions” (58 percent) and “increase cash collections” (47 percent).

According to Impact Advisors’ conclusions of the survey, there are significantly more improvements in clinical and revenue cycle outcomes that can still be realized from EHRs.  What’s more, optimization is already happening in many organizations, but specific projects and efforts vary widely. Further, getting more value out of the EHR investment is not just an IT responsibility. And finally, the firm concludes, optimization challenges are very real, and outside help will likely be needed.




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