Orlando

US healthcare IT leaders focused on financial pressures

US healthcare IT leaders are coming under growing financial pressures, with their top business priority being to sustain financial viability in the face of massive pressures including falling reimbursements and mergers.

The second related top business priority is to improve the operational efficiency of care, followed by clinical improvement.

Jennifer Horowitz, the vice president of HIMSS Analytics told a media briefing in Orlando this morning: “Changing payment models was a top concern, as were policy mandates and financial considerations.”

She said the findings of the annual HIMSS Leadership Survey were “No surprise with changing reimbursement models and the introduction of accountable care”.

The poll of US healthcare IT leaders showed that worries about lack of financial resources is now the number one barrier to delivering IT strategies, displacing worries about lack of staffing resources, which was cited as the main concern in 2013.

The three top priorty areas for staffing were staff with skills in clinical application support, network architecture support and clinical informatics.  “These have been the same top areas for the last few years, said Horowitz.

The findings also indicate that the majority of US hospitals plan to continue increasing IT spend.  Some 65% of those surveyed said they expect their operating budget to increase in the next year, a figure slightly down from 76% last year.

Asked to identify their priorities for the next two years achieving meaningful use was named as the highest priority, with a high degree of optimism about meeting the requirements on stage one and two.

Some 90% sad they have already reported meeting stage one and 71% said they believe they will meet stage two by the end of 2014.

Topping the list of financial priorities was converting to ICD10, with a national switch planned by 2014.  Some 69% say that is their primary financial IT focus, and 92% say they are ready to meet this requirement.

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