Meaningful Use Stage 1 Now Met by Majority of Hospitals

New Orleans, LA—The majority of healthcare “leaders,” primarily hospitals, have qualified for Meaningful Use Stage 1, according to the 24th Annual Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Leadership Survey (http://himss.files.cms-plus.com/HIMSS org/Content/files/leadership_FINAL_RE PORT_022813.pdf.). The survey, released at the HIMSS annual conference, indicates that the government’s efforts to impact provider investments in information technologies (ITs) to qualify for Meaningful Use and International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) conversions are paying off.

“We found this year that healthcare organizations are making strong progress toward federal mandates,” said Jennifer Horowitz, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, Senior Director of Research at HIMSS Analytics, speaking at a press briefing. “It seems we have reached a tipping point.”

The Annual HIMSS Leadership Survey covers a range of topics crucial to health IT. The survey included 298 respondents, primarily senior IT executives representing almost 600 hospitals in the United States. Data were collected via a web-based survey from December 2012 to February 2013.

Survey results showed that 66% of the respondents have already qualified for Meaningful Use Stage 1 and 75% expect to qualify for Stage 2 in 2014. ICD-10 conversion is expected to be completed on time by 87% of the respondents, Ms Horowitz reported. Other key survey results included:

  • Health information exchanges: 51% reported their organization participates in at least 1 in their area
  • ICD-10: 47% indicated that implementing Current Procedural Terminology-10/ICD-10 continues to be the top focus for their financial IT systems
  • Impact of IT on patient care: Most respondents felt that IT can impact patient care by improving clinical and quality outcomes, reducing medical errors, or helping to standardize care by allowing for the use of evidence-based medicine
  • Organization infrastructure: 22% indicated that a focus on security systems was their current key infrastructure priority
  • Security concerns: A security breach in the past year was reported by 19% of respondents. Current concerns largely pertain to ensuring that information delivered on mobile devices is secure.

Level of Investment
Only 5% of the organizations surveyed made no investment in Meaningful Use Stage 1 last year. Most (17%) invested $1 million to $2 million, 11% invested $3 million to $4 million, and 6% invested $5 million to $9 million. An investment of $20 million or more was reported by 5% of the respondents.

The expected return on this investment was less than $2 million for 30% of the respondents, whereas 23% expected a return of $2 million to $3 million and 16% expected to see $4 million to $5 million.

Of note, a return on investment of at least $10 million was expected by 7% of the respondents. For Meaningful Use Stage 2, most of those surveyed (38%) expected to see less than a $2 million return on investment.

Approximately 50% of the respondents said the primary financial IT focus is on implementing ICD-10, which is due by October 2014. One in 5 respondents planned to invest less than $250,000 for this purpose, but 33% did not know how much this effort would cost. In addition, 15% planned to devote funds to upgrading their financial analytics systems.

A definite increase in IT budgets was predicted by 47% of the respondents, and a probable increase by 29%, primarily owing to the overall growth in IT systems and the need for additional staff.
Lingering Concerns

As the role of IT in healthcare grows, respondents continued to express concerns about IT staffing shortages. Approximately 50% of those surveyed indicated that they plan to increase their IT staff over the next year, but 21% were concerned that their IT objectives could not be sufficiently met because of a lack of staff. The greatest staffing need was in the area of clinical application support, 33% of respondents indicated.

A lack of adequate financial support was a potential barrier for 15% of the respondents, and 13% worried that the vendor would be unable to deliver the product.

Difficulty in end-user acceptance, however, was rarely a concern, as was difficulty proving return on investment as this concept matures, expressed by only 7% and 4% of users, respectively.

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