Healthcare information professionals are feeling significant pressure to deliver data on the outcome of their institution's labors, according to a new survey.
Outcomes data comparison was ranked as one of the two top forces behind increased computerization, along with the movement to managed care.
Seven of 10 respondents said they're already participating in local or regional outcomes projects, and three in four said they have in-house outcomes projects under way. Just over half said they would participate this year in the clinical indicator measurement system being developed by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
The spotlight on outcomes was brighter partly because the survey wanted to know the top concerns other than cost containment, which was assumed to drive the healthcare market.
But the ascendancy of outcomes measurement was surprising and significant, said George Levesque, president of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, which co-sponsored the survey with Hewlett-Packard Co.
Mr. Levesque said the industry is "finding that the cost pressure is tied to the outcome measures" because cost containment and good measurement are both needed to be cost effective.
Healthcare professionals are grabbing for all the information they can to help them change drastically, said Deborah DiSanzo, healthcare information systems marketing manager for Hewlett-Packard.
To make any move toward vertical organization or new ways to provide care at reasonable cost, executives have to know what's proven. "Outcomes data gets back to what works," Ms. DiSanzo said.
HIMSS members apparently see more support from top management to invest in the information systems that would connect data sources and yield that information.
Of the 1,033 respondents to the survey, taken during the HIMSS annual convention last week in Phoenix, Ariz., 85% said their budgets would increase somewhat or substantially during the next two years. That's up from last year's level of 71%.
That's significant in a year in which market pressures have forced overall healthcare delivery budgets down, said Mr. Levesque.
The survey attracted double the 571 respondents to last year's survey. More than 6,000 attended the Phoenix convention, a HIMSS spokesman said.