Multi-hospital systems could ease standardization and reduce implementation costs through systemwide rollouts of new applications, instead of deploying them one site at a time. When it comes to enterprisewide implementations, big health systems should rely on super users to link information systems with end users, offer support in frontline operations and other functions.
The HHS has announced plans to seek vendor proposals by year-end that would help launch the nationwide health information network into full operation. In a notice, the agency advised selected health IT vendors to come up with NHIN-based and interoperability-focused solutions, procedures and technical standards.
Hospitals should involve IT representatives when staging disaster exercises to give other departments an idea on how IT will recover clinical systems in the event of a disaster, said Jim Grogan of Wayne, Pa.-based SunGard Availability Services. Performing risk assessments will help hospitals identify IT-related hazards prior to an actual disaster, added Timothy Rearick of North Highland in Tallahassee, Fla.
Health care executives should expect stiffer enforcement of information privacy and security policies as well as a culture strain among medical groups in adapting to new demands, wrote IT experts Kenneth Kizer and Glen Day in a report. A report by Ponemon Institute had similar conclusions, stating that the "majority of IT practitioners in our study believe their organizations do not have adequate resources to protect patients' sensitive or confidential information."
Helping physician practices with their electronic medical records implementation could give hospitals competitive advantage in terms of their business model and quality of care, said Dr. Todd Rothenhaus, CIO of Boston-based Caritas Christi Health Care. Some hospitals may not be able to fund EMRs for physician practices, but they could create a strategy that can encourage doctors to become involved in health IT adoption, added Lindsey Jarrell, CIO of Tampa, Fla.-based BayCare Health System.