What's the hottest thing in healthcare information technology? That's just what we wanted to know.
Providers rate what's hot and what's not
Modern Healthcare asked respondents to its annual health IT survey to select their top three “hot button” priorities from a list of 21 technologies.
OK, no shocker here: Meeting the meaningful-use criteria of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was the people's choice by a landslide, chosen as one of their three picks by 58% of survey respondents.
But what about the other IT priorities respondents selected? As it turns out, seven others out of the top 10 will help providers clear meaningful-use hurdles: electronic health records (50%); clinical communications infrastructure and ambulatory clinical IT systems (both at 26%); inpatient systems (22%); data privacy and security, (16%); information exchange (14%); and data warehouses (12%).
The two outliers in the bunch:
Consolidating all IT functions using common applications, chosen by 19% of respondents and ranked No. 6 on the hot-button list.
Physician practice management systems, selected by 15% of participants and ranked No. 8.
Thus, eight of the top 10 “have something do with: ‘You've got to put EMRs in; you've got to get meaningful use out of them; you've got to get the data out of them,' ” says Dave Garets, president and CEO at HIMSS Analytics, the IT market research subsidiary of the Healthcare Information and Management System Society. “I'm not even remotely surprised by this.”
The relatively low ranking in the survey of some IT projects—particularly others also required to meet meaningful-use targets—was a bit disconcerting, however, given all that's on the federal IT agenda, according to Garets.
“What is surprising is that upgrading financial systems is No. 11, and we have 5010 and ICD-10 breathing down on us,” Garets says. He is referring to a Jan. 1, 2012, deadline for compliance with the upgrades from the Accredited Standards Committee X12 Version 4010 data-transmission standards to the more complex Version 5010 standards for healthcare claims, and a subsequent Oct. 1, 2013, compliance date for switching from the International Classification of Diseases 9th Revision clinical code system to the far larger ICD-10 code series.
The conversion to these new standards and codes will force many providers to significantly overhaul or replace their current, aging billing and financial software, Garets says.
“There are a lot of financial systems out there that are 10 years old, 15 years old, that weren't designed for ICD-10,” Garets says. He adds that HIMSS has identified about 30 different types of healthcare software applications in common use that will require modification to make the ICD-10 conversion.
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