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HIMSS survey respondents say more money needed to help meet stage 2

More than 90% of respondents to the annual HIMSS Leadership Survey reported that their organizations have met the requirements for stage 1 of meaningful use. The survey also found a shift in the primary barrier to successful health IT implementations. This year’s respondents cited limited financial resources as their main problem — though 65% also reported IT budget increases — while the past two surveys both had insufficient and untrained staff as the top concern.

Healthcare organizations striving to receive reimbursement payments will allocate some of their health IT budget toward qualifying for meaningful use stage 2. A quarter of last year’s leadership survey respondents stated that their facility planned to invest a minimum of $1 million toward that goal. The expectations for stage 2 adoption have held steady since a year ago, when three-quarters of HIMSS leadership respondents said they expected their organizations to attest to stage 2 in 2014. Only 4% of respondents to last year’s survey said their organizations had no plans to qualify for stage 2.

The HIMSS survey results project confidence in widespread meaningful use attestation in 2014, which seems to be at odds with the recent decision to extend the attestation period for stage 2 an extra year through 2016. The extension came after the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives and 17 Republican Senators made a formal request to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Some providers have expressed concern that a lack of interoperable data will hinder their ability to meet stage 2 obligations, as documented in a white paper by Corepoint Health LLC. The interoperability problems — including difficulties exchanging patients’ continuity of care documents — limit providers’ participation in statewide HIEs.  The health IT executives who participated in Corepoint’s focus group expressed confidence that they had the tools necessary to work around these interoperability blockades.

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