Survey reveals providers doubts about healthcare IT funding

By Molly Merrill
09:58 AM

More than 50 percent of healthcare providers believe the billions of dollars from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act earmarked for healthcare information technology will have little to no success in encouraging adoption, according to a recent survey.

Stamford, Conn.- based IVANS Inc., a provider of electronic communications services to insurance and healthcare companies, surveyed 508 healthcare providers throughout the United States in April 2009.

According to the survey providers do see the benefits of healthcare IT, with 66 percent of those surveyed believing that EHRs can have a positive impact on their business, and 74 percent believing EHRs can have a positive impact on the healthcare industry overall. 

The biggest challenge to implementation cited by providers was,  “lack of budget” (82 percent) followed by “lack of awareness and expertise.”

Fifty-nine percent of providers surveyed said they have already implemented or plan to implement EHRs in the next 12 months but only 17 percent are participating or planning to participate in a health information exchange.

“While there are many pieces to the healthcare puzzle that still need to be figured out, the use of HIEs and EHRs will create greater information transparency and will play a critical role in whether healthcare reform succeeds or does not,” said Clare DeNicola, president and CEO of IVANS, Inc.

The survey found that 47 percent of respondents believed they should be responsible for taking the lead on driving adoption of healthcare IT to ensure its success, while 21 percent suggested the government should lead. Fourteen percent said healthcare insurers and payers should have that responsibility, and the remaining 18 percent were split between industry associations and consumers leading the charge.

“Providers are diverse and significant attention from the government needs to be placed on addressing their different needs," said DeNicola. "A small nursing home in a rural area will have IT requirements that vary from a multi-facility hospital. The interests and concerns of all involved stakeholders need to be met for a meaningful use of HIT to occur,”

Forty percent of healthcare providers who participated in the survey were home health and hospice organizations and 27 percent were nursing homes. According to the survey, these organizations’ participation in the funding is still unclear.

“The government needs to get tactical about what qualifies for the funding and what doesn’t as providers are wary to start implementation without this understanding,” said DeNicola.

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VA Secretary Shulkin testifying during the House Appropriations Subcommittee on March 15. Credit: C-span