Meaningful use still a challenge despite strides, say hospitals

By Mike Miliard
10:42 AM

Most hospitals and health systems report being well along in completing electronic health record implementation, but many still have doubts about their ability to meet new EHR standards, according to a new poll from KPMG.

Forty-eight percent of hospital and health system business leaders who participated in the survey said they were confident in their organization’s level of readiness to meet Stage 1 meaningful use requirements, say KPMG officials. Thirty-nine percent said they were somewhat confident, 3 percent said they were not confident at all, and 10 percent didn’t know what their level of readiness was.

[See also: Meaningful use adds to CIO workload.]

The poll also found that nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of hospital and health system leaders said they are more than 50 percent of the way to completing EHR system adoption.

“The results show that organizations are moving forward, but it’s interesting that many are not more confident with their level of readiness, especially when considering anticipated Stage 2 requirements,” said Brad Benton, partner and national account leader for KPMG Healthcare. “Achievement of meaningful use is a major organization-wide transformational initiative, and associated challenges must be effectively managed from the beginning or organizations may face serious project risk issues down the line.”

[See also: Hospitals 'struggling' to protect patient data.]

Among the challenges organizations have had in meeting Stage 1 meaningful use requirements, simply understanding the requirements involved in demonstrating meaningful use was cited by the hospital and health system respondents as the biggest (25 percent).

This was followed by training and change management efforts (20 percent); capturing the relevant data electronically as part of clinical workflows (18 percent); lack of a dedicated meaningful use team (12 percent) and not having the appropriate certified technology (6 percent).

“Adding to the challenge is the continuing development of the regulations themselves,” said Mike Beaty, principal and KPMG Healthcare IT enablement leader. “Each successor stage really builds on its predecessor, so it’s imperative that organizations really embrace and institutionalize the concept that achieving compliance is not just a technology focused project. Real success will be defined by highly-effective adoption of redesigned clinical workflows and care delivery processes.”

[See also: Meaningful use criteria 'too high and too many'.]

“If the providers don’t redesign their workflows, or processes, prior to the implementation of the EHR system, they run the risk of bogging down a very expensive tool with bad processes that won’t yield the benefits the system should provide in the best case, and never achieve meaningful use thresholds in the worst case,” said Joe Kuehn, partner and KPMG Healthcare financial management leader.

“In the long-term, EHR implementation is a critical driver for clinical and other business intelligence mandates,” he added. “Healthcare organizations must consider other important mandates, including ICD-10 and accountable care capabilities, in concert with the EHR transformation. This will help promote sustainability and future return on investment.”