HIMSS senior staff provide wide-ranging presentation on state of health IT

por John W. Mitchell, Senior Correspondent | February 21, 2017
In a wide-ranging presentation, HIMSS senior staff covered an array of issues of importance to attendees at the annual conference, currently underway in Orlando.

Carla Smith, MA, executive vice president, HIMSS North America, reported that the show had 40,453 attendees as of Monday morning. These attendees were 40 percent from the care delivery spectrum; 30 percent from the C-Suite; 30 percent vendors/IT professionals; seven percent from payer and financing; and five percent from government. The percentage total exceeded 100 percent as some attendees identified in more than one category.

Lauren Pettit, vice president, HIS and Research, HIMSS North America, presented the findings of the 2017 Leadership and Workforce Survey.
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The survey presented 19 key issues to respondents. Pettit said there were some shared priorities identified in the survey between vendors/consultants and providers. These included: quality and patient safety outcomes; privacy; security and cyber security; care coordination; culture of care, and population health.

There were also differences, which Pettit termed “divergent priorities that point to a healthy tension within the marketplace.”

These issues included: electronic health records; compliance; risk and management integrity; the business of health care and new payment models; and health information exchange, interoperability and data access. According to Pettit, vendors and consultants are generally in sync with the clinical IT priorities of hospitals.

The web survey was conducted mid-November through mid-January. It included vendors and IT consultants (43 percent) and health care providers, including hospitals (55 percent), ambulatory care centers (15 percent) and long-term and post-acute care providers (LTPAC) (30 percent).

Health care providers were only 56 percent likely to agree that IT budgets will increase in 2017, while 87 percent of vendors and consultants said that budgets would increase. Also, the majority of IT employers said their staffing increased or stayed the same compared to the same period for the prior year.

"The non-hospital provider market has a number of interests the vendor/consultant community may want to target in this coming year,” Pettit told the audience.

These areas included: care coordination; business of health care and new payment models; compliance and risk management; and program integrity.

The survey also found that almost a third of non-hospital providers do not have an IT executive. Pettit also said that a “remarkable” 16 percent of ambulatory centers and 13 percent of LTPACs do not employee any IT staff.

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