EHRs remain a challenge for medical practitioners, and that's why chief information officers (CIOs) plan to invest heavily over the next three years to improve how they are used, according to a survey of College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) members conducted by KPMG LLP, the US audit, tax, and advisory firm.
"Meaningful use, HITECH, and new payment models have encouraged health care providers to invest in EHRs, but some didn't mesh with how doctors and nurses work," says Ralph Fargnoli, Advisory managing director at KPMG and author of Beyond Implementation: Optimizing EHRs to Maximize Results. "A majority of doctors are dissatisfied with EHRs. We need to make these systems secure, easier to use, and interoperable across the continuum of care to effectively treat patients and uncover where quality and efficiency can be improved."
The KPMG survey, which was conducted through January 2017, found CIOs plan the majority of capital investment over the next three years to be the following (figures rounded):
• EMR system optimization (38%);
• accountable care/population health technology (21%);
• consumer/clinical and operational analytics (16%);
• virtual/telehealth technology enhancements (13%);
• revenue cycle systems/replacement (7%); and
• enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems/replacement (6%).
The investment priorities correlate with some of the biggest HIT challenges that executives face. The survey found that improving clinical/business processes topped the list of challenges, closely followed improving operating efficiency and delivering business intelligence/analytics.
These spending plans are likely to remain the same among 63% of respondents for the next 12 months and for 44% during the next two years. For the next 12 months, 18% of respondents expect higher spending. Respondents (36%) expect an increase in operating budgets during the next two years.
Approximately one-quarter of all respondents said their organizations were implementing or investing in cloud computing infrastructure (servers, storage, and data centers) and 18% said their investments were in ERP solutions. Other key functions for the cloud among the respondents include EHRs (10%), enterprise systems solutions (10%) and disaster recovery (8%). The biggest challenges and concerns with cloud computing were regarding data loss/privacy, applications not being fully optimized with the cloud and integration with existing architecture.