Despite all the hoopla in the past two years about healthcare information technology, when it comes to allocating money to buy IT systems, healthcare executives have been, by and large, unmoved, according to responses to the annual Modern Healthcare Survey of Executive Opinions on Key Information Technology Issues.
Asked what percentage of their organizations total operating budgets were allocated to information systems in 2006, survey respondents this year gave answers that tracked very closely to those from readers in the previous years survey.Download the Information Technology Survey report from our Databank/Surveys section, Information Technology: 2007.
A similar question asking leaders to report their IT spending as a percentage of their organizations capital budgets showed a mild softening of demand from 2005 to 2006.
Taken together, it appears there have been no dramatic increases in executives IT spending plans, even with all the tub thumping by David Brailer, the former national coordinator for health information technology, and HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt. A big part of the problem, observers say, is that there has been little federal money to back the governments ambitious goals.
Until they pull out their wallets, its all platitudes, says physician informaticist William Bria, chief medical information officer at Shriners Hospitals for Children, a system based in Tampa, Fla., and chairman of the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems.
Both years, the survey asked readers to select from 13 possible ranges of operating budget percentages they had allocated for IT spending, with ranges starting at 0% to 0.5% and rising to more than 6% in increments of 0.5 percentage points.
In 2006, the 2.1%-to-2.5% range was most frequently chosen (by 15.7% of respondents) while in 2005, the same range also was the most commonly selected (by 16.1% of respondents).
The second and third most frequently selected ranges also were the same in 2006 as in 2005: the 2.6%-to-3% range was chosen by 13.7% of respondents in 2006 and by 14% in 2005; and the 1.6%-to-2% range was chosen by 13.1% of respondents in 2006 and 12% in 2005. The 2.6%-to-3% budget range was also the median selection for both years.