Survey: EHRs number one priority for healthcare IT professionals

Seventy-four percent of healthcare IT professionals reported that their existing information on meaningful use and electronic health record certification was "adequate" and that their technical implementation questions have been answered, according to a new survey.

The survey, by Embarcadero Technologies, a San Francisco-based provider of databases tools and developer software, was conducted throughout the months of March and April 2010 and primarily reflects the opinions of Embarcadero’s healthcare IT professional contacts (developers, DBAs, architects, consultants, executives) in the United States.

According to the survey, 85 percent of respondents indicated that they are either in the midst of an EHR project or plan to start one within the next 18 months.

When asked which EHR system provider their company would be using, the responses were a mixed bag: 13.2 percent cited Epic, 11.3 percent named Cerner, 7.5 percent said Siemens, and other vendors such as NextGen, McKesson and Meditech received fewer mentions.

Two thirds of those surveyed agreed that their IT staff was ready to implement EHR systems that would comply with meaningful use and the same number (66 percent) also said they are planning to use database management tools to better understand the data and applications to implement EHRs and meaningful use.

In identifying their top three healthcare IT priorities, 61 percent of respondents ranked EHR implementation as first priority, followed by healthcare data warehouses (52 percent) and health information exchanges (47 percent).

Forty-percent of respondents indicated that database performance is their biggest data management challenge followed by data integration (45 percent) and data quality (36 percent). Nearly half of those surveyed also indicated that interoperability with other systems was also a major IT challenge.

Other important healthcare IT initiatives cited included creating models to the HL7 standard and ICD-10 coding standards.

Click here to access the full survey results.