Providers rate what’s hot and what’s not

Modern Healthcare - - Special Feature -

What’s the hottest thing in health­care in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy? That’s just what we wanted to know. 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%) (View chart at Mod­ern­Health­care.com). 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 fi­nan- cial 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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