Hospital CIOs worried they won't make it to meaningful use finish line

By Bernie Monegain
06:54 AM

Eight in 10 hospital CIOs said they are concerned or very concerned they will not be able to demonstrate meaningful use of electronic health records by the government's 2015 deadline, according to a survey released Tuesday by PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute.

The report "Ready or not: On the road to the meaningful use of EHRs and health IT," is based on a survey of 120 hospital CIOs who are members of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME).

It found:

  • Only half of the hospital and health system CIOs surveyed say they will be prepared to meet the first set of meaningful use requirements and apply for incentive bonuses in 2011, the first year they are available.
  • CIOs interviewed for the report said they also were concerned about meeting later-stage requirements within the specified time frames. The requirements include advancing care processes through decision support; providing and populating patients' personal health records; and improving health outcomes through data-sharing outside their own organizations, such as with insurers, patients and other providers.

The promise of stimulus funding has accelerated EHR adoption and the collection of massive amounts of electronic health data as hospitals and physicians across the country race to meet eligibility requirements. But the existing infrastructure to support meaningful use of EHRs on a national health information superhighway is insufficient, according to the CIOs interviewed by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"Healthcare organizations are building high-performance race cars to travel back country roads," said Daniel Garrett, leader of the health information technology practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers. "Furthermore, we found many healthcare providers are mired in the complexity of incentive-rule criteria and may not be working toward longer-term goals for meaningful EHR usage. The bottom line is improved quality of care and patient safety, delivered more efficiently. Government leaders and health organizations need to give consideration to the ultimate goal as they work to finalize and meet guidelines for meaningful use."

Besides surveying 120 hospital CIOs during the second quarter of 2010, PwC conducted in-depth interviews with 14 CIOs and health leaders from health systems, health information exchanges, health insurers and regional extension centers.


Next page: CIOs identify four things that keep them up at night.