Health IT at 'tipping point' says CDW survey
A new survey sponsored by CDW Healthcare shows 84 percent of providers reporting their care delivery has improved with help from health IT. Moreover, they say the IT systems themselves are also improving.
The "CDW Healthcare IT Tipping Point Report" polled 200 IT professionals and more than 200 caregivers at large hospitals, officials say. Its findings indicate an increasingly sanguine view of health information technology systems and their capabilities.
Doctors and nurses polled cite the availability of better information (85 percent), the accuracy of care delivered to patients (72 percent), and the ability to track follow-up care (68 percent) as the technology's top benefits.
And while healthcare IT has been traditionally viewed as a tool for delivering better information at the point of care, nearly 40 percent of respondents say recent advancements in systems and applications have enabled them to spend more time with patients.
[See also: CDW: Healthcare sector to lead IT spending.]
Nonetheless, the study did find some reasons for caution going forward. The report's data show the advantages to caregivers diminish when the investment in endpoint solutions grows out of balance with needed infrastructure requirements. Caregivers in hospitals adding four or more new endpoint systems during the last 18 months, for instance, reported seeing fewer benefits and said the solutions were slower, less available and ultimately less valuable in patient care.
Some cases create more concerns than others, officials say. Four percent of hospitals deploying an EHR in the last 18 months added no additional storage capacity and 11 percent invested in no additional IT security, for instance. And 10 percent of hospitals opened their networks to patients and visitors without adding any wireless network capacity. Without supporting infrastructure, the likelihood of system slow down or unavailability increases, reducing the overall value in delivering patient care.
“As a report card on the performance of IT departments at large hospitals, this is a solid A,” said Bob Rossi, vice president of CDW Healthcare. “That said, the survey results also demonstrate how out-of-balance systems can result in user frustration and wasted time.”