Healthcare News & Insights

2 IT areas most healthcare organizations need to improve

Health IT departments are busy implementing EHRs and other systems. But for that to be successful, they’ll have to tackle two other major challenges, as well. 

Most healthcare organizations believe they’ll be able to start using EHR systems in time to meet the deadline to receive federal incentives and avoid penalties, according to a recent survey conducted by Level 3 Communications and Corona Insights.

Not surprisingly, many health IT departments are focused on implementing electronic health record (EHR) systems now. Among the 100 health IT leaders surveyed, most (80%) believe EHRs will improve patient care, and more than 60% think the government’s meaningful use mandates are a “good idea” to improve patient care.

In addition, 79% of respondents believe that the 2015 deadline set for the federal EHR incentive program is feasible for their organization.

However, that doesn’t mean the road to EHR adoption will be free from obstacles. In part thanks to the implementation of new systems, health IT teams are focusing on two other priorities for the nex few years: upgrading network infrastructure and improving information security.

Upgrading IT infrastructure

The majority of organizations (76%) plan to upgrade their IT infrastructure over the next two years. In addition to the requirements created by internal EHR systems, those upgrades are also being driven by the greater connectivity of healthcare organizations, and increasing medical imaging requirements, according to the survey.

One thing those providers should keep in mind: It may be best to make those infrastructure improvements before a new EHR system is installed. According to a report from last year, many hospitals haven’t been getting the most out of their health IT investments because outdated infrastructures prevented systems from working as well as they should.

Protecting IT security

Despite the fact that the vast majority of organizations have been free from security incidents over the past year, just 56% are confident that they’ll be able to prevent security breaches on their networks in the future. In addition, 77% said security was a major concern when implementing EHR systems.

For help deciding where to prioritize security efforts, see our list of the most common IT security mistakes healthcare organizations make.

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