HIMSS slides: IT leaders report MU, ICD-10 progress but fear staff shortages

NEW ORLEANS—The 24th annual HIMSS Leadership Survey, sponsored by Infor, revealed that health IT leaders are making headway toward Stage 2 Meaningful Use (MU) requirements and ICD-10 preparations, they fear the lack of well-trained IT employees to support their needs. The results were presented March 4 at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual conference.

A total of 298 valid responses were received for this year’s web-based survey. Researchers collected data between December 2012 and February 2013, and survey respondents represent nearly 600 hospitals across the U.S. The average bed size of the hospitals represented in this survey is 468 (median bed size, 200 beds).

The findings strongly suggest that the federal government’s efforts to impact provider investments in IT to qualify for MU and ICD-10 conversions are paying off. To illustrate, two-thirds of survey respondents have already qualified for Stage 1 Meaningful Use while three-quarters indicated they expect to qualify for Stage 2 in 2014. Additionally, 87 percent of respondents indicated they expect to complete their conversion to ICD-10 by October 2014.

Now that a majority of IT executives report having achieved MU Stage 1, many leaders have turned their attention to MU Stage 2. In fact, findings reveal 28 percent of organizations have identified the implementation of the systems needed to achieve MU as their key IT priority. Twenty-five percent of respondents also reported they will invest a minimum of $1 million to achieve Stage 2.

Respondents also continue to express concerns about IT staffing shortages. While 51 percent of the respondents indicated they plan to increase their IT staff in the next year, 21 percent are concerned they won’t be able to secure the IT staff needed to successfully achieve their IT objectives. The leading areas in which respondents need staff are in the areas of clinical application support, network/architecture support and clinical informatics professionals.

Other key survey results include:

  • Health Information Exchanges (HIEs): Fifty-one percent of respondents reported their organization participates in at least one HIE in their area, a finding that is slightly increased from last year’s participation level.
  • ICD-10: Approximately half (47 percent) of respondents to this survey indicated implementing CPT-10/ICD-10 continues to be the top focus for financial IT systems.
  • Impact of IT on Patient Care: Respondents were most likely to indicate that IT can impact patient care by improving clinical/quality outcomes, reducing medical errors or helping to standardize care by allowing for the use of evidence-based medicine.
  • Role of Clinicians: Clinicians are active participants in many aspects of IT use at their organizations, including selecting IT systems for use in their department and acting as project champions.
  • Security Concerns: Nineteen percent of respondents indicated their organization experienced a security breach in the past year. Respondents were most likely to indicate that securing information on mobile devices was the top security concern at their organization.
  • Organizational Infrastructure: Almost one-quarter of respondents (22 percent) indicated that a focus on security systems was their current key infrastructure priority.
  • IT Governance: There continues to be a strong level of integration between an organization’s overall strategic plan and their IT strategic plan as half of respondents reported their IT plan is part of their overall organizational strategic plan.
  • Senior IT Executive Responsibilities: Executives were most likely to report that they play a role in contributing to overall business strategy and driving value from IT investments.
  • External Areas of Responsibilities: Nearly all senior IT executives reported they were responsible for at least one IT area outside of the traditional IT department, primarily telecommunications.
  • Consumer Attitudes on Health IT: On a scale of one to seven, where one is of no importance and seven is a high degree of importance, IT executives recorded an average score of 4.94 with regard to the importance that patient/consumer attitudes have on adoption of new technology.