CIOs banking on achieving Stage 1 MU

The vast majority of CIOs responding to the survey conducted in mid-March by the College of Health Information Management Executives (CHIME) expect their organizations will achieve meaningful use of electronic health records within Stage 1 and get funding under the HITECH portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

A total of 32.5 percent of the 200 CIOs who responded to the survey say they expect to qualify for stimulus funding by September 30, 2011, which marks the first full year of the federal program. An additional 58 percent of CIOs reported that they expect their organizations will qualify during Stage 1, but possibly not until late in federal fiscal years 2012 or 2013.

The total of 90 percent who say their organizations will qualify for stimulus funding in federal fiscal years 2011 to 2013, the first years of the stimulus-funding program, has remained fairly consistent with CHIME’s previous two surveys, conducted in August and November of 2010.

Adjusting expectations

However, a comparison of results from all three CHIME surveys suggests that CIOs are revising estimates of when they expect their organizations will qualify for stimulus funding

Results from the most recent survey illustrate a continued decline in optimism among CHIME members aiming to qualify for funding within the first six months of the federal program. Only 7.5 percent of respondents they expected to qualify for funding by April 1, 2011, compared with 15 percent of respondents to the same question in November and 28 percent of CIOs who responded to the first CHIME survey in August 2010.

“The survey shows that as CIOs begin implementing EHRs to meet the meaningful use targets required to get stimulus funding, they are finding quite a bit of ‘devil is in the details’ as they move along the process,” said Pamela McNutt, Senior Vice President and CIO of Dallas-based Methodist Health System and Chair of CHIME’s Policy Steering Committee.

A majority of respondents to the recent CHIIME survey indicated that their organizations have yet to register for the federal program, a first step in declaring readiness to participate and subsequently demonstrating the meaningful use of EHRs. Only 19.5 percent of CIOs at standalone hospitals say their organizations have already registered for the program, while 29.5 percent of CIOs at multi-hospital systems say their organizations have registered all their hospitals for the program.

Responses from community hospital CIOs suggest that their organizations will need more time to qualify for stimulus funding. Only 26 percent of CIO respondents from community hospitals say they expect to qualify for stimulus funding during the first year of the program, ending on September 30, 2011.  Nearly two-thirds of CIOs from community hospitals now say they are hoping to qualify in late FY2012 or FY2013.

CIOs accelerate implementation