Implementing electronic health records topped healthcare information technology professionals priorities this year, despite a reduction in the number who said IT budgets and staff would grow, according to the 20th annual leadership survey by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
Thirty-one percent of participants this year said that full EHR installation was their focus, and another 17% said that they would be implementing computer physician-order entry, according to the results released today at the 2009 HIMSS conference in Chicago.
Still, the results also indicated the economic pressures IT leaders are facing. Only 55% of respondents said that their budgets would increase compared with 78% last year. In addition, only 42% said that their staffing levels would increase compared with 68% in 2008. More than half, 54%, cited financial considerations as the business issue having the most impact on healthcare, according to the results.
The results reflect the lack of access to capital for projects, according to Tim Zoph, chief information officer at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "Organizations are hunkering down" and focusing on budgets and daily operations, said Zoph, speaking during a news conference. "It's hard to think of incentives that are two to three years out."
Last year, most IT professionals surveyed cited security as their top concern. Security remained an issue on this years survey with 84% saying that their organization assesses risks. The same number of respondents as in the 2008 survey, 25%, said that their organization had experienced a security breach in the past year.
The Web-based survey was conducted from Feb. 1 to March 6. The 304 survey respondents, down slightly from last years 307, represent 250 healthcare organizations and 700 hospitals, and more than half were chief information officers.