2012 HIMSS Survey: IT staffing shortage key barrier to meeting IT priorities

By Healthcare IT News
05:39 PM
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Lack of staffing resources was cited as the most significant barrier to implementing IT, according to the 2012 HIMSS Leadership Survey, which was released Tuesday morning at HIMSS12.

Nearly two-thirds of the 302 IT executive level respondents expect to add staff in the next year to successfully implement their IT initiatives.
 

Lack of staffing resources was cited as the most significant barrier to implementing IT, according to the 2012 HIMSS Leadership Survey, which was released Tuesday morning at HIMSS12.

Nearly two-thirds of the 302 IT executive level respondents expect to add staff in the next year to successfully implement their IT initiatives.

Kay Hix, CIO and vice president of Carilion Clinic in the Roanoke, Va., area, said that while her healthcare organization had embarked on their electronic medical record initiative long before Meaningful Use came along, the Stage 1 requirements created more complexity in terms of measuring for quality. As a result, resources were getting stretched.

Underlying the need for staffing resources is the continued focus on meeting federal initiatives. Thirty-eight percent indicated that achieving Meaningful Use is the top IT priority for the next two years. Having a fully operational EHR in place was identified as a primary clinical IT focus by a quarter of respondents, and implementing ICD-10 was cited as the primary financial IT focus by more than two-thirds of respondents.

Nearly half of respondents reported that their healthcare organization participates in a health information exchange (HIE). However, only 22 percent of respondents reported that while there was an HIE in their region they were not participants. The Indiana Health Information Exchange is in the area of Deaconess Health, which is based in Evansville, Ind., but CIO Todd Richardson pointed to sustainability as the biggest challenge for HIEs. Instead, Richardson advocates for interoperability between the different clinical systems of hospitals and health systems.

Despite the recent announcement of a delay in the ICD-10 deadline, hospitals and health systems that are already deep into the implementation of the new code system are still expecting to continue. Nearly 90 percent of respondents said they expect to complete their ICD-10 conversion by the October 2013 deadline. While Susan Heichert, senior vice president and CIO of Allina Hospitals and Clinics, based in Minneapolis, Minn., said her organization was “extremely disappointed,” it is “too costly a train to stop” in an organization as big as hers.

Richardson pointed out that healthcare organizations can’t bet on changes and dates. “You can’t not start,” he said. “You just keep working on it.”