Electronic Health Records

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Hospitals Seeing Opportunities to Integrate Workflows

Benefits to patient care can translate to business benefits for hospitals, as patient perspectives of care influence reimbursement rates.

By Frank Irving

- More than 80 percent of U.S. hospitals could take advantage of health IT integration across departments that would help them capture, transform and manage information from anywhere at any time. Results of a newly released survey reveal that achieving a higher level of “information mobility” would position hospitals to realize significant gains related to meaningful use of EHR technology and provision of accountable care.

A new report from IDC Health Insights shows an opportunity for hospitals to improve

The survey, commissioned by technology company Ricoh Americas Corporation, informed a report released Dec. 14 by IDC Health Insights. The research points out that healthcare is catching up to other industries in terms of technology upgrades — many spurred by government incentives.

“The need to access the right data at a moment’s notice is even more critical in the healthcare industry when patient care is at stake,” said Lynne Dunbrak, research vice president for connected health IT strategies at IDC Health Insights, in a public statement. “As hospitals realize the benefits to population health, meaningful use gains and accountable care, they are steadily making investments to improve their workflows and IT infrastructure for greater access to information.”

The report notes the vital role of EHR systems and health information exchanges in support of “digital transformation” in areas such as care coordination and clinical processes that span departments. The findings show that about 85 percent of hospitals believe their internal departments could optimize document workflows, with electronic versions of documents being critical to the process.

Additionally, although 69 percent of hospital employees say they are satisfied with their ability to print, scan and access applications from a mobile device, there’s still room for improvement in the capture and management of data, especially in regard to pursuit of meaningful use. More than 80 percent of respondents identified a need for remote access to applications for employees; such access would help them find and integrate information from different platforms. Another 77 percent said information mobility would help integrate information from different platforms to help formulate care insights.

The report says hospitals are still in the early stages of mobile technology deployments that will give greater access to data for caregivers and patients alike. In fact, only 9 percent of survey respondents considered themselves to be information mobility “champions.” Over 60 percent identified as being “beginners” or “contenders” in information mobility maturity.

For now, hospitals have realized the greatest improvements from information mobility in the areas of work quality (29 percent), information flow within departments (27 percent) and time dedicated to patient care (27 percent), according to the report.

“As organizations continue to see efficiencies and process enhancements in these areas, they will supplement ongoing gains in meaningful use and accountable care. Ultimately these benefits to patient care can translate to business benefits for hospitals, as patient perspectives of care influence hospital reimbursement rates,” the report finds.

IDC Health Insights surveyed 100 IT and business executives during the summer of 2015 at hospitals with 500 or more employees. You can request download of the full report here.




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