Additional Observations from the HIMSS12 Conference and Results from the Annual HIMSS Leadership Survey

HIMSS Health IT Conference and ExhibitionAs mentioned in the previous blog entry, Layered Tech recently attended the annual HIMSS Conference and Exhibition, the premier healthcare IT show of the year. In our last post, we recapped the main takeaways related to HIPAA, hosting and cloud computing, but there were some other aspects from the show we felt were noteworthy. Also, during the show, HIMSS released the results of its annual Leadership Survey. The findings illustrate the state of the industry, the challenges faced and the objectives that are top-of-mind for healthcare organizations.

One of the main news items from the conference was the delay in the federally mandated requirement to complete the migration to ICD-10, which has taken pressure off of healthcare providers. The final rule adopting ICD-10 as a standard was published in January 2009, and it set a compliance date of Oct. 1, 2013 – a delay of two years from the compliance date initially specified in the 2008 proposed rule. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has yet to announce a new compliance date. Although the delay was big news, many of the consulting services firms and the larger solution providers, such as Cerner, McKesson and Epic, are still heavily promoting their migration capabilites. In addition, HIMSS itself and other IT-related groups were telling their members and anyone who would listen to not slack off when it comes to ICD-10 preparedness.

HIMSS Leadership Survey Results

According to the Annual HIMSS Leadership Survey, for the first time in years, IT leaders at healthcare organizations did not identify a lack of financial support for IT as an obstacle to implementation; instead, concerns about staffing resources was cited as the key barrier to IT. The survey results, released on February 21, showed that one-quarter of respondents said adequate staffing resources within their organizations is the top barrier to IT implementation, and approximately two-thirds of respondents said their IT staff will increase in the next year. Leading areas of expertise in which survey respondents require staff include clinical decision support, network and architecture support, and clinical informatics.

As healthcare organizations move toward meeting their information technology priorities, key areas of focus, as reported by the survey’s technology leaders, are: achieving meaningful use and ICD-10; participating in health information exchanges (HIEs); addressing security concerns; and IT governance. Highlights include:

Nearly 90 percent of respondents expect to complete their ICD-10 conversion by the Oct. 1, 2013 deadline (survey results were captured before the ICD-10 delay was announced). Two-thirds of respondents also reported that implementing ICD-10 was the top area of focus for financial IT systems at their organization.

More than one-quarter of respondents have already attested to meaningful use. One-quarter of respondents also said that achieving meaningful use is the key business objective at their organization.

Almost half of respondents reported that their organization participates in an HIE. However, 22 percent of respondents said there is an HIE in their area in which they are not participating at this time.

Security continues to be a top concern for healthcare IT professionals. Approximately one-quarter of respondents indicated their organization has experienced a security breach in the past year.

IT is being successfully integrated into healthcare providers’ overarching business strategy.
Half of respondents reported that the IT plan is part of the overall organizational strategic plan.

Key takeaway – Regulatory requirements are still driving healthcare IT spending. However, IT continues to be viewed as a strategic enabler of the overall healthcare provider’s business. This is leading to continued investment in personnel to address IT architecture and analysis. Areas not deemed to be core to the business are increasingly considered for outsourcing.


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