Healthcare information technology professionals expect the health IT spending allocated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to impact the industry, but increased IT adoption wont happen until the government clarifies funding guidelines, according to results of a survey by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
The majority of those surveyed believe healthcare organizations will be motivated to add more IT within their operations. About two-fifths, 42%, said that they expect their organizations investment strategies will change as a result of federal dollars. And 58% said that the combination of the carrot (increased Medicare payments) and the stick (reduced reimbursement adjustments) will be sufficient for providers to begin investing in IT, according to the survey, released during the 2009 HIMSS conference in the groups Vantage Point trends publication.
But to receive incentives through the stimulus act, providers have to demonstrate meaningful use. More than half, 58% of the respondents to the HIMSS survey said providers will wait to make significant investments until the government clarifies what that means.
Ann Fagan-Cook, CEO of Parkview Hospital, a 16-bed critical-access facility in Wheeler, Texas, said that the funding will help motivate hospitals to implement IT, but its something providers should be doing regardless of federal money. To achieve good patient outcomes, providers need good information, and electronic health records help provide that, she said. Its a safety issue and its a quality issue. Parkview is currently implementing a system developed by Prognosis Health Information Systems expected to be completed by August or September.
Already the hospital is getting a return on its investment, Fagan-Cook said. The system facilitates communication between the hospitals pharmacy and billing departments, handling on average 5,000 transactions a month, she said. Were not searching for little slips of paper.
HIMSS online survey, available to IT professionals across the country, had 331 respondents and was conducted this month.