September 28, 2015 Owen Carey

Training Key to Squeezing Value From EHRs

Healthcare CIOs have long experienced increasing external pressures to realize value from investments in EHRs, but now they are also facing heightened internal forces as well according to an Impact Advisors report. “Now that most hospitals and health systems have implemented an enterprise EHR, there is also growing internal pressure to realize value from that investment. Significantmoney has been spent on these systems, and executives now want to see the tangible improvements in clinical and revenue cycle outcomes that were promised,” concludes the report.

More than 70 percent of respondents stated their organization’s top IT priorities are projects that pull more value out of their EHR investment. Meanwhile, only 8 percent of respondents said they are not focused on optimization at the present time. Nearly 75 percent cited “too many competing priorities” as one of the biggest current challenges, while 30 percent cited “budget concerns” as an obstacle. Further, nearly 75 percent plan to seek outside assistance from a services firm in addition to leveraging an internal projects team.

The study, Realizing Value from an Enterprise EHR Investment, surveyed more than 40 CHIME members and outlines how market leaders are approaching optimization. The vast majority of respondents stated their organizations had already implemented an enterprise EHR, with half reporting completion of implementation more than two years ago.

Respondents also expressed mild satisfaction with the improvements realized by their organizations from their EHRS. Significantly, they did not report overwhelming levels of satisfaction. Over 56 percent stated investing in an EHR has not helped their organization realize productivity and efficiency goals, with an additional 8 percent reporting they could not tell because it is too difficult to isolate the impact of the EHR.

Of the respondents, 35 percent said their EHR has helped their organization achieve productivity and efficiency goals. The majority, however, are not yet there with only 16 percent saying their EHR has hindered their goals and 41 percent said it has neither helped nor hindered.

For the purposes of the survey, “optimization” was defined for CHIME members as “outcomes-based improvement to meet a defined set of objectives.” Ultimately, the report found, “there are significantly more improvement in clinical and revenue cycle outcomes that can still be realized from EHRs,” but realizing that value is not just the responsibility of IT. In fact, “optimization challenges are very real, and outside help will likely be needed.”

This article originally appeared here.

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