Security and quality are driving investments in electronic medical records and other health information technologies, which are two of the top priorities for healthcare professionals, according to the latest leadership survey by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
One in four organizations had a security breach in 2007, according to the 307 participants in the 19th annual survey. As a result, most of the respondents said they will focus on identity management (45%) and security (42%) as they implement systems in the next two years. The other leading technology in the survey is radio-frequency identifiers, with 43% of respondents saying they will implement RFID to facilitate medication management.
Upgrading clinical systems and adding technology that will help reduce medical errors also are high priorities. Of the respondents, 40% said they will replace or upgrade clinical systems, and 39% will implement IT to reduce errors and increase patient safety, according to this year's survey. Reducing medical errors while improving patient safety was the top IT priority of 54% of respondents in the 2007 survey. EMR adoption topped this year's list, as well, with 26% of participants saying they were likely to implement electronic records over the next few years.
The same three issuesquality, reimbursement cutbacks and patient satisfactionmade the list of top five issues having the biggest impact on healthcare through 2010.
Stephen Lieber, president and chief executive officer of HIMSS, said the survey results reflect that the healthcare IT industry has "reached a level of maturation," with future priorities indicating that the industry is moving toward creating meaningful reports and finding ways to use the data they've collected for quality and patient-safety initiatives.
The Web-based survey was conducted from November 2007 through January 2008. The 307 survey respondents represent 261 healthcare organizations and more than 700 hospitals, and more than half were chief information officers.