Interoperability, costs among top concerns for health IT professionals

By Erin McCann
11:11 AM

A new survey released Thursday sheds light on health IT trends currently affecting the industry, with data showing that interoperability and costs are chief concerns for healthcare providers.

Conducted by Greenway Medical Technologies, the survey sought insight from more than 1,000 physicians, industry professionals and consumers.

More than a quarter of respondents (26 percent) indicated that interoperability was a primary concern when it came to utilizing technology in their healthcare system, with overall costs closely following at 22 percent. Medical staff alignment and adapting to industry changes also were among the top concerns for providers.

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Survey results revealed provider uncertainty over payment reform, with the majority of respondents (59 percent) indicating they were unsure about whether they would participate in an accountable care organization and 17 percent clearly stating they did not plan to participate.

Providers also appeared leery toward patient-centered medical home programs, with 45 percent unsure whether they would be part of one and 27 percent saying they would not.

“We encountered many enlightening results in this study, which we’re making available to help further the national dialog regarding the creation of a smarter and sustainable healthcare system,” said Greenway President and Chief Executive Officer Tee Green.

“The report reinforces the need for hospitals and healthcare providers to take a lead role in three major trends impacting patient care – data electronification, consumerism and population health improvement," Green added.

Survey subject matter ranged from the perceived value of IT investments and the need for future improvements to steps taken in support of forthcoming changes in healthcare payment and care delivery models.

Other key findings, specific to each group surveyed:

Physicians: Who’s in charge? Physicians see themselves in the lead – or at the forefront – of healthcare transformation, but believe that meaningful change can only come from the coordinated efforts of all stakeholders, the study found. They also reported that they feel the pressure to migrate to larger health systems, a trend they say will accelerate if Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements are further decreased.

Consumers: Access above quality. Consumers ranked access above quality in their healthcare concerns. About half said they feel challenged under employer-driven high deductibles and access limitations, and view government as responsible for fixing the problem. The majority of consumers expected to be increasingly involved in their own healthcare purchases and decisions, and embrace technology innovation to assist both themselves and their providers.

IT executives: Data liquidity to drive delivery. Health system CIOs and IT professionals overwhelmingly support the movement toward improved access to information for patients, data exchange between healthcare settings and enhanced public health data analysis, the study found. The majority cited interoperability, data exchange and physician alignment as their main concerns going forward.

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