E-Health Systems: For Love or Money?

Gienna Shaw, January 18, 2011

In the HealthLeaders report, hospital and health system leaders rate their satisfaction with the cost, value, interoperability, ease of use, speed, responsiveness, and downtime of their systems. They also rated their satisfaction with functions such as chart review, patient portals, physician portals, decision support, and the ability to conduct data-driven research. In every category fewer than 57% of respondents were either strongly or somewhat satisfied.

The satisfaction rates were a little better at physician practices and clinics—but not by a whole lot.

(Check out page 14 and 16 of the report for all of the data on leaders' satisfaction with a variety of EHS components, broken down by setting.)

And that begs the question—are providers pushing forward with electronic health systems just to get the money and to avoid penalties for failing to meet meaningful use? Or do they believe that the technology will ultimately get better and have a positive impact on outcomes? A sampling of provider responses shows that some are motivated by the financial carrots and sticks, but others believe it is the right thing to do.

"The penalties [for failing to achieve meaningful use] would close our practice," wrote one respondent, the administrator of a physician organization.

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