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Healthcare Execs Will Invest More in EHR Systems, Health IT

According to a recent survey, healthcare executives are planning to invest in interoperable EHR systems and other healthcare technologies in 2016.

By Jacqueline Belliveau

- As a majority of healthcare executives reported that they expect their organization’s revenue and patient volume to grow, so will their investments in EHR systems and other healthcare technologies, reported CIT in its Healthcare Industry Outlook study.

Healthcare executives to invest more in EHR systems, health IT

Approximately 56 percent of survey participants have invested what they expected to spend on their current EHR systems when compared to their original budget.

For those respondents who did not spend what they budgeted, an estimated 34 percent claimed that they invested more while only 7 percent spent less.

With most of the health executives stating that the EHR transition was smooth in terms of finances and implementation, healthcare providers can expect to see an increase in health IT and EHR investments in 2016, the study pointed out.

“The majority of the surveyed healthcare executives remain optimistic, expecting similar growth to last year in revenue, prices, volume and capital spending,” said William Douglass, CIT Healthcare Finance Group Head and Managing Director. “With a promising financial outlook, it is not surprising that nearly half of executives surveyed also believe that capital spending will increase in the coming year. Moreover, the need for financing is expected to hold steady or increase.”

In terms of EHR spending, healthcare executives are seeking ways to invest more in interoperability, explained the CIT survey.

About 70 percent of health executives reported that their organization used an EHR system, while only 53 percent said that their systems are interoperable with other EHR platforms.

Researchers found that interoperability is a top priority for healthcare executives, especially those with limited levels of EHR communication.

Out of those who claimed their EHR systems could not communicate with other platforms, approximately 70 percent were thinking about investing in other health technologies that would allow their EHR platform to be interoperable.

Healthcare executives were also looking for ways to increase EHR security, reported the study.

Among healthcare executives with interoperable EHR systems, 67 percent of respondents stated that they are somewhat concerned with EHR and HIE security.

Additionally, researchers found that healthcare executives are more willing to invest in healthcare technologies than any other area, including goods and services, new hires, renovations, and acquisitions.

Healthcare executives asserted that investing in health IT would improve care quality, promote convenience, and reduce healthcare costs.

Forty-three present of participants said that capital spending in health IT will increase, while 28 percent also reported that financing will increase.

By investing more in health technologies, the participating healthcare executives anticipate reductions in healthcare costs for patients and providers.

The study also revealed that slightly more than half of the participating healthcare executives stated that healthcare providers, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies are responsible for lowering healthcare costs.

In efforts to decrease costs, about 46 percent of respondents disclosed that their organizations updated health technologies.

About 52 percent also said they negotiated with insurance companies to reduce healthcare costs, and 46 percent eliminated unnecessary procedures.

Overall, the study showed that healthcare executives expect revenue and patient volumes to increase in the 2016 fiscal year.

An estimated 71 percent of participants anticipate revenue growth in the next year and 55 percent expect to get financing in 2016.

In addition to health IT investments, more than half of the healthcare executives predicted an increase in mergers and acquisitions, which would allow healthcare providers to concentrate more on quality care and care coordination rather than business administration.

As the healthcare industry continues to move to value-based payment models, healthcare executives are expecting to spend more on health IT and business functions to facilitate the transition. By improving EHR systems and merging with other hospitals, healthcare providers may spend more of their resources on patient outcomes.

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