Health Care Survey Finds Leaders Slow to Implement Health Information Exchange

Photo of a computer cable for transmitting health care information.

For people interested in pursuing a career in health care technology, a new survey has found that many industry leaders are not prepared to share electronic data across the medical community, as mandated by the federal government.

According to the new white paper "Crossing the Connectivity Chasm: Pinpointing Gaps in Readiness to Exchange Health Information," which is based on the results of a survey by ECRI Institute and health information exchange firm s2a Consulting, leaders said that while they understand the importance of the data exchange, they have are having difficulty navigating the system.

Only 54% of the respondents indicated that their organization has formally assessed their health information exchange and interoperability needs, Thomas E. Skorup, vice president of ECRI Institute's Applied Solutions Group, stated. "If an organization fails to address the gaps in its ability to exchange healthcare data, not only will it delay efforts to provide patient care and quality at lower costs, it may also prevent that organization from meeting Meaningful Use requirements set forth by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)."

A survey conducted in July by the College of Health Care Information Management Executive found that part of the problem may be that providers are having a difficult time finding workers with the right qualifications or training on their resume.

The survey noted that 67% of hospitals currently face a shortage of IT staff. Respondents said they were in particular need of specialists who could implement and support clinical applications such as electronic health records (EHRs) and computerized order entry systems.Under the guidelines of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, hospitals must use certified EHRs to improve the quality of their care and share clinical quality data with CMS.

The Bureau of Statistics reports that employment opportunities for those trained in medical records and health information technology are expected to increase by 21% through 2020. 

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