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Meaningful use to drive health IT spending: HIMSS survey

Not surprisingly, meaningful use is poised to drive spending on health IT in 2010, perhaps even to pre-recession levels, according to the annual leadership survey of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

The results of the survey, released at the HIMSS 2010 annual conference, suggest that nearly 60% of providers intend to make additional IT investments in order to meet federal criteria for meaningful use and thus qualify for federal financial incentives. Meaningful use was further identified by a plurality of respondents (42%) as the top IT priority of the next two years, with the related issues of implementing an electronic health record (EHR) and/or computerized physician order entry system checking in at 35% and 27%, respectively.

A total of 398 respondents, representing about 270 health care organizations and nearly 700 hospitals, completed the HIMSS leadership survey between Dec. 14, 2009, and Jan. 29, 2010.

Other interesting survey tidbits include the following:

  • Nearly three in four survey respondents expect IT operating budgets to return to where they were two years ago.
  • Nearly two in three expect to add staff.
  • Nearly half have a fully operational EHR system in at least one location, and nearly a quarter have such a system in place throughout their organization.
  • More than four in 10 participate in a health information exchange (HIE).
  • Thirty percent of respondents said their primary security concern was maintaining compliance with HIPAA security and privacy laws, including new data breach notification regulations.

We expect meaningful use to dominate the discussions, formal and otherwise, at HIMSS10. We also hope to learn how those 60% of providers not in an HIE and those 50% of providers without an EHR system can get started before it is too late.

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