Health executives anticipate savings from EHRs

Despite the high cost of implementation for electronic health records, a majority of executives at large healthcare organizations believe the applications will eventually produce savings, recent survey results showed.

More than 70 percent of respondents said they anticipated financial savings from EHR systems, according to Capgemini. The New York-based research and consulting firm, which drew its findings from responses from executives at 84 hospitals, health insurers, physicians and vendors.

Nearly 90 percent of respondents said EHR initiatives were under way at their organizations.

"I think it's a validation, as much as anything else, of what we see going on in the market," said Lewis Redd, national leader of Capgemini's health practice. "The projected increase in spending in healthcare IT is 10 to 12 percent.

"A few years ago, information systems wouldn't be on the CEOs' radar screens," he added. "Today, almost every CEO is doing something related to clinical systems."

Redd said the healthcare industry continues to apply financial rigor to healthcare IT investments that are being considered.

"The industry is financially stressed, and if it's going to spend this level of financial investment, you have to think through what you're going to get for that," he said. "We see our clients being a lot more analytical about defining a business case for clinical systems, and then they are monitoring outcomes against that plan."

Some 58 percent of respondents to the survey said capital costs are the greatest obstacle to implementing clinical information systems. Physician resistance to adoption and lack of office technology was mentioned by 46 percent as a major hurdle.

Clinicians are beginning to believe that using information systems will save them time in the long run, Redd believes.

"If clinicians are directly getting information from a system and putting information into it, then they can shorten some processes and conduct business with fewer manual processes," he said.