Lack of staff still a concern for health IT professionals

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For the second year in a row, staffing was identified as the most significant barrier to IT implementation by health IT professionals responding to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's annual leadership survey. Lack of adequate financial support also was among the top barriers to implementing IT, according to the survey, for which 298 providers participated. Roughly 90 percent of the respondents represented hospitals.

Survey respondents said their top staffing concerns included support for clinical applications (34 percent); network and architecture (21 percent); clinical informatics (18 percent); and IT security (14 percent).

Other survey findings included a slight rise in participation in health information exchange. Fifty-one percent of respondents said that their organization participated in at least one HIE in their area, up from 49 percent last year.

Additionally, 66 percent of respondents said they already have attested for Stage 1 of Meaningful Use, with another 24 percent saying they will attest this year. Three-fourths of respondents said they expect to qualify for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use by 2014.

"The incentive program has done exactly what President Obama intended it to do in 2009--spur the investment of information technology in a place where it largely didn't exist," HIMSS CEO Steve Lieber said at a news conference yesterday. "We hear a lot of comments from folks about 'look at where we are in terms of the percentage of physicians that have been adopted,' but you've got to remember where we started and how far we've come in really, a very short period of time.

"This is a policy decision much more than it is a financial decision."

A second study conducted by HIMSS and HIMSS Analytics unveiled this week found that out of 507 clinician respondents, 70 percent said that health IT benefited their ability to care for patients efficiently.

To learn more:
- here's the HIMSS Leadership survey (.pdf)
- read the result of the 2013 iHIT study (.pdf)

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