HIMSS survey: Health IT benefits economy, poses new challenges
- While health IT leaders continue to report positive market growth metrics, staffing structures and experiences in non-hospital provider settings suggest a need to address the unique challenges these providers face, according to a HIMSS study released at the HIMSS17 conference.
- One barrier to adopting health IT in care provider settings outside the hospital is the lack of IT champions as only 32% of ambulatory care and long-term post-acute care organizations employed a dedicated senior IT executive, versus 87% of hospitals, the study shows.
- The 2017 Leadership and Workforce also found a disconnect between providers and vendors/consultants on select clinical IT priorities, especially electronic health records (EHRs).
Providers and vendors share many of the same clinical IT priorities for 2017, including privacy, security, cybersecurity, care coordination, culture of care and population health, the survey shows. Yet when it comes to EHRs, vendors appear to be “moving on" to new issues while providers are focusing on how to get the most out of their investments in the systems, HIMSS says. A new KPMG survey shows healthcare CIOs plan to invest heavily in EHR optimization and population health over the next three years.
EHRs have been presenting a large number of issues. Improving their usability and affordability may not be a priority for at least some vendors, but most healthcare leaders plan to adopt additional technologies to enhance EHR use and ease clinician burnout, according to a HIMSS Analytics survey released at HIMSS17. While EHR adoption has substantially grown, the systems have also presented security issues and cybersecurity investments are falling short of what the healthcare industry now needs to address the growing threat of cyber attacks.
Other key findings from the HIMSS study include:
- Demand is high for health IT talent. A large number of health IT employers — 43% of providers and 61% of vendors/consultants — said they have positions they are looking to fill. Only 38% of providers and 32% of vendors/consultants said they were fully staffed.
- The size of IT workforces is growing. During the past year, 61% of vendors/consultants and 42% of providers increased their IT staffs, and a majority expect anticipate further increases this year.
- IT budgets are also growing. While projections vary, 56% of providers and 87% of vendors/consultants plan health IT budget increases this year.