Healthcare News & Insights

Survey: Cost, interoperability challenges remain for health IT

Use of health IT is rapidly increasing among hospitals. But many organizations aren’t getting the most out of their tech investments just yet. 

Hospitals are making a lot of progress when it comes to health IT, according to a recent survey from the Optum Institute for Sustainable Health.

Of the hospital CIOs surveyed, 87% said their organization had an EHR system in place. In addition, 70% said they’ve met the meaningful use stage 1 criteria, and 75% are confident they’ll meet stage 2 requirements by 2014.

Also, 70% of hospitals in the survey are using a health information exchange (HIE), and the majority of the others plan to start within the next 12 months.

Despite the widespread use and interest, CIO also reported a few significant health IT challenges:

  1. Rising costs — Health IT can help hospitals run more efficiently, but at this point, most respondents said tech initiatives have raised costs overall for their organizations.
  2. Incomplete patient information — While most hospitals using an HIE said the exchange gives them access to information such as lab results and patient history and demographics, other data such as prescriptions, care plans and discharge summaries are available in less than half of exchanges.
  3. Lack of interoperability — Many respondents reported that various health IT systems don’t interface well together, which decreases efficiency and increases costs for hospitals.

One tool that may help overcome those challenges: cloud computing. Nearly 60% of the hospitals currently using EHRs plan to invest in cloud-based systems in the future, believing they’ll allow affordable access to additional health IT tools and that current systems with be able to operate in conjunction with new cloud technologies.

To read more, download the survey results here.

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