Health systems in Pennsylvania are looking to harness various forms of health IT and make them interoperable to bring "information to the point of care," said Kelly Lewis, TechQuest PA's president and CEO. Harrisburg, Pa.-based PinnacleHealth System, for instance, opened a health information exchange network to ease data sharing between providers, reduce costs and improve patient care.
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.
Hospitals should leverage computer-assisted coding to improve their clinical, operational and financial performance in order to ease the adoption of the ICD-10 coding system as well as qualify for incentives under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. To move forward with CAC adoption, hospitals need to address challenges such as getting coder buy-in.
Health care systems should be able to boost their organizational performance amid the economic downturn by utilizing business analytics. Business analytics, or metrics, gives users in an organization the ability to create new intelligence from raw data, resulting in improved decision-making and optimal patient care.
Health care organizations are not poised to comply with HITECH's privacy and security rules due to a lack of funds and response plans, according to a Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society survey. Lisa Gallagher, HIMSS' senior director for privacy and security, advised medical groups to "approach all IT activities, including data security, with effective management and efficient use of their budgets, staff and technologies."