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Health CIOs Shrink Meaningful Use Expectations

The percentage who expect to qualify for early stimulus funding has dropped by half since August, finds College of Health Information Management Executives survey.

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The percentage of healthcare CIOs who expect their organizations to qualify early for Meaningful Use stimulus funding has dropped by half, according to a recent survey by the College of Health Information Management Executives (CHIME).

"As an industry, we're learning more about the regulations and measures and the work that's going to be required in order to get there," said Chuck Christian, CIO of Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes, Ind, and vice chair of CHIME's policy steering committee.

Implementation of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) is looming as one of the more difficult objectives to achieve, with more than half saying their biggest concern is getting clinical staff to use the systems.

"I don't think I had truly gotten a really good understanding of, not just the effort it's going to take, but the amount of organizational change that will have to take place around that. There are many moving parts to CPOE," said Christian.

In fact, those moving parts affect more than just physicians.

"In most cases," explains Christian, "this is the entry system everybody uses. If you're a physician, you get one set of tools, and if you're a nurse or ancillary department person, you get another set of tools, but it's all the same order management system, so keeping that in mind, we're basically implementing an order management system that will impact everybody on the inpatient and outpatient settings."

The survey found that CIOs from community hospitals now appear to be far less confident than they were in responding to a similar CHIME survey in August. In the recently completed survey, only 5% of CHIME member respondents at community hospitals expect to qualify for funding in the first six months of the stimulus funding program, compared with 23% three months ago.

Some 42% of community hospital CIOs also reported that they expect to accelerate plans to implement electronic health records (EHRs), nearly double the 24% who responded similarly in the previous survey. Additionally, the percentage of community hospital CIOs who believe their organizations are well positioned to qualify for funding dropped to 32%, down from 48% in the previous survey.

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