Healthcare News & Insights

Health IT issues that have hospital executives on edge

Modern Healthcare polled 252 healthcare executives between Nov. 13, 2013 and Jan. 20, 2014 for its 24th annual survey of key health IT issues. What are executives most concerned about right now? 

466848313Three things topped the list:

  • Of course the No. 1 concern of 22% of the respondents is the challenge of implementing ICD-10
  • The second concern pressing on 18% of the respondents’ minds is meeting Stage 2 meaningful use requirements, and
  • The final issue causing stress among 7% of the respondents is data security, as experts expect data breaches to increase over the next year.

According to the Advisory Board, other issues that are causing anxiety among healthcare executives are:

  • consolidating IT functions using common applications
  • giving patients the ability to access specific information online
  • creating communication links with physicians, and
  • replacing their current electronic health records (EHR) with another vendor’s system.

Double whammy

There’s no doubt about it. Implementing ICD-10 is a huge undertaking that many hospitals have been working on for years. But add to that the stress of preparing for Stage 2 meaningful use and you have a double whammy.

Facilities that aren’t ready for Stage 2 meaningful use and the 2014 upgrade requirements could lose out on an EHR incentive payment in 2014 and then be penalized by Medicare in 2015.

What might keep providers from meeting Stage 2 meaningful use requirements and qualifying for federal EHR incentive payments? The biggest obstacles for hospitals are:

  • Training needs and management challenges
  • Lack of a process to monitor and make sure meaningful use is maintained
  • Trouble changing clinical workflows to capture necessary data
  • Lack of a dedicated meaningful use team, and
  • Limited availability of vendors with certified technology.

Hospitals are also putting a lot of resources into implementing and upgrading EHR systems and have hired additional staff to work on EHR deployment.

As if that isn’t bad enough, not being ready to implement ICD-10 codes could be catastrophic for hospitals financially.

Even hospitals who are ready for the ICD-10 switch are going to experience some financial loss due to staff needing an adjustment period to get up to speed.

Optimism prevails

Although, 76% of survey respondents were somewhat to highly confident that their organization would be complaint with ICD-10 by the deadline, they may not be aware of how complicated ICD-10 implementation is.

Plus, 50% of the respondents said that another delay would be helpful because it would:

  • allow them to spend limited resources on other IT projects
  • give vendors more time to certify their EHR products to 2014-edition standards, and
  • let Medicare contractors conduct end-to-end testing of their  claims processing system with provider.

But, according to the department of Health and Human Services, that’s not gonna happen.

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