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EHR Integration Remains Top Priority for CHIME CIOs in 2018

CHIME CIOs named EHR integration and secure messaging adoption as their top priorities for 2018.

EHR Integration

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- Thirty-eight percent of CHIME CIOs named optimizing EHR integration with other hospital systems as a top priority heading into 2018, according to a recent Spok survey.

Researchers collected survey responses from 46 CHIME CIOs in June of 2017 to assess the leaders’ top priority goals in the coming months. Ultimately, 62 percent of respondents reported physician adoption and buy-in as their top priority over the next 18 months, while 38 percent plan to prioritize improving EHR integration.

In addition to EHR integration and physician adoption, improving data analytics capabilities is also a reigning priority among respondents. Forty percent of CIOs stated they plan to deploy an enterprise analytics platform next year.

Investment decisions about communication-related technologies will also primarily center on EHR integration. Seventy-one percent of survey respondents stated they intend to base future investment decisions on integration with provider EHR systems. Furthermore, 69 percent of respondents stated intentions to base these investment decisions on integration with other systems.

“CIOs are making thoughtful decisions about their technology investments,” noted researchers in the report summary. “Seventy-one percent of respondents say integrating with the EHR is top priority. According to 54 percent of survey respondents, mobile adoption and buy-in continues to be a challenge.”

While CIOs intend to focus a substantial portion of investment decisions on optimizing EHR integration, many also reported an interest in reducing provider burden. Sixty-two percent of respondents reported plans to base investment decisions on improving usability for end users. Meanwhile, 57 percent of respondents stated an interest in basing decisions off meeting the needs of clinicians.

With EHR usability problems frequently cited as a root cause of physician burnout and dissatisfaction among providers, ensuring all technologies are easy to use for clinicians remains top-of-mind for hospital leadership.

Physician satisfaction will also play a significant role in how hospital CIOs judge their successes in the coming year. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they will measure the success of efforts to adopt new technologies and improve integration according to rates of physician adoption and user satisfaction.

Hospital leadership also expressed an interest in improving the patient experience. Half of all respondents reported having a patient experience officer or equivalent on staff, while 45 percent are currently evolving patient portals to support population health initiatives.

“CIOs are considering the patient perspective,” commented researchers.

For many hospital CIOs, new technologies will come in the form of various alerts to improve care coordination. Over the next three years, 61 percent of CIOs plan to integrate clinical decision support alerts into mobile technology, while 65 percent plan to integrate critical diagnostic test alerts.

Furthermore, 60 percent of respondents based their decision to select a mobile technology off the ability to enable critical test alerts. In addition to integrating alerts to improve efficiency, 71 percent of respondents reported planning to use mobile technology to improve clinical documentation in the next few years.

Overall, CIOs appear interested in maintaining a focus on utilizing new technologies to improve the efficiency of clinical and operational processes in 2018.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how healthcare CIOs keep pace with advancing technologies—integrating their systems and ensuring adoption, while keeping the patient perspective front and center,” concluded researchers.

Integrating alerts into new technologies will likely be especially effective in boosting hospital productivity. Evidence suggests certain alerts can help boost care coordination, improve patient care delivery, and cut costs.

Earlier this year, leadership at the Utah Health Information Network (UHIN) discussed the benefits of integrating admission, discharge, transfer (ADT) notifications into EHR systems. One study published in the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC) determined clinical decision support alerts can help to increase HPV vaccinations.

“For public health advocates, any tool that increases effective immunization adherence in support of disease prevention is an important contribution to the well-being of communities,” stated researchers.

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