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.
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."
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.
Hospitals and integrated delivery systems are scrambling to fill CIO positions with the right talent, "particularly those who have experience with EHR
implementations and vendors," said Linda Hodges, vice president and health IT practice leader at Witt/Kieffer. The surge in CIO recruitments is due in large part to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act incentives, added Hodges.