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CIO Investments Target EHR/EMR Improvements

News  |  By Alexandra Wilson Pecci  
   March 07, 2017

Survey data indicates that with penetration of electronic medical record systems at high levels, healthcare investments will focus on system optimization.

Chief information officers, plan to invest heavily over the next three years to improve how electronic medical record systems are used, according to a survey of College of Healthcare Information Management Executives members by KPMG.

Although the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT puts EHR/EMR implementation rates at more than 95% of hospitals, most EHR systems aren't optimized for users, says a KPMG report about the poll and its findings. Instead, the systems "implemented as one-time, factory boilerplate-style system installations," the report says.

The poll found that 38% of the 112 survey respondents ranked EHR/EMR optimization as their top choice for where they plan the majority of capital investment over the next three years.

Annual Industry Outlook: The Road to Value-Based Care

Following EHR/EMR optimization on the priority list were

  • Accountable care/population health technology (21%)
  • Consumer/clinical and operational analytics (16%)
  • Virtual/telehealth technology enhancements (13%)
  • Revenue cycle systems/replacement (7%)
  • Enterprise resource planning systems/replacement (6%)

Approximately one-quarter of respondents said their organizations are implementing or investing in cloud computing infrastructure (servers, storage, and data centers), and 18% said their investments are in enterprise resource planning solutions. Other key functions for the cloud among respondents include EHRs (10%), enterprise systems solutions (10%), and disaster recovery (8%).

In addition, 63% of respondents said their spending plans are likely to remain the same for the next 12 months and for 44% said they'd stay the same during the next two years. For the next 12 months, 18% of respondents expect higher spending.

The report suggests that EHR/EMR can be optimized through:

  • An easy user experience
  • Providing meaningful training to users
  • Enabling users to code services properly
  • Making the technology available via mobile and other remote options
  • Aligning the technology with the larger organization infrastructure
  • Automating functions, such as sending potential drug interactions to patients

The report also offers advice for EHR/EMR optimization, including configuring EHR/EMRs to capture quality data using standardized fields and then aggregating and analyzing that data. It also calls for interoperability with other systems and the ability to share data for the benefit of other technologies such telehealth.

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.

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