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HIMSS leadership survey: Staff, not money, top health IT need

The latest leadership survey from HIMSS Analytics shows that, for the first time, staffing needs outweigh financial needs when it comes to achieving health IT strategic plans.

LAS VEGAS -- Health IT executives are focused on meeting meaningful use requirements and other federal initiatives while ensuring their strategic direction aligns with IT needs. On their wish list is more staffing resources, according to the results of the annual Health Information and Management Systems Society's HIMSS leadership survey.

The survey, released during the HIMSS 2012 conference, shows hospital executives continue to see meeting meaningful use criteria as their organization's top priority. But they face these projects with fewer staffing resources, something that’s become a top barrier -- even more so than financial resources -- for moving forward, according to the HIMSS leadership survey.

This is the first time lack of financial resources has been replaced as a top barrier.
Jennifer Horowitzsenior director of research, HIMSS Analytics

"This is the first time lack of financial resources has been replaced as a top barrier in our study," said Jennifer Horowitz, senior director of research for HIMSS Analytics, presenting the results at HIMSS 2012. The survey received 302 responses from IT executives in December 2011 and January 2012.

One cause of that staffing shortage is the complexity of building and sustaining electronic health record (EHR) systems as more data gets fed into systems, said Kay Hix, CIO and vice president of Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Va.

As hospitals become more IT savvy, and as vendors continue to develop products to meet client demands, managers are tapping the same limited pool of IT experts. "They're going after the same resources we are," said Hix during the survey results presentation.

The HIMSS leadership survey results mirror what found in its 2012 business forecast, in which senior managers said health care organizations are feeling more confident about participating in the federal government's EHR Incentive Program and meeting meaningful use criteria while they continue to align IT strategies with the overall strategic direction of their facilities.

The HIMSS leadership survey indicated that executives are focused on the following.

Top health IT priorities:

  • Meeting meaningful use criteria: 38%
  • Clinical systems: 15%
  • Leveraging information: 13%
  • Optimizing use of current systems: 12%

Top clinical IT issues

  • Fully operational EHR: 25%
  • Physician systems: 16%
  • Computerized physician order entry (CPOE): 16%
  • Linking clinical systems to quality measures: 15%

Top IT infrastructure issues

  • Servers/virtual servers: 19%
  • Mobile devices: 18%
  • Desktops/virtual desktops: 16%
  • Security systems: 16%

Let us know what you think about the story; email Jean DerGurahian, Executive Editor or contact @SearchHealthIT on Twitter.

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