Healthcare // Electronic Health Records
10:10 AM

Costs, Training Top Hospital EHR Concerns

While electronic health record adoption is high, only 47% of executives think IT will improve their work environment and 85% are worried about how to pay for it, finds Dell study.

Health IT Boosts Patient Care, Safety
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Slideshow: Health IT Boosts Patient Care, Safety

Three out of four hospital executives say their organizations have partly or fully implemented electronic health records (EHRs) of some sort, and 83% have either selected or implemented an EHR that can fulfill federal meaningful use requirements, according to a survey conducted by Dell.

The Dell Executive & Patient Survey interviewed hospital executives as well as recent hospital patients in fall 2010 to gauge their attitudes toward various issues facing the healthcare industry.

The survey, which polled 150 hospital executives, also found that a third of respondents are participating in some form of local, regional, or state health information exchange (HIE), which allows multiple providers to have access to the same patient data. Another 54% are planning to participate in an HIE and almost 70% have partly or fully implemented an online physician portal.

While executives believe they will receive at least partial reimbursements for implementing health IT, 85% of them are worried about how they will pay for the initial investment and ongoing cost of EHRs. Many are also ambivalent about whether health IT will improve their work environment. Only 47% say the change will be positive for hospitals, and only 37% think it will be positive for physicians. Almost 80% are apprehensive about the prospect of training their clinicians and hospital staff to use the new technology.

Nevertheless, executives see many areas in which technology can be used to engage patients in the healthcare process. Of those surveyed, 87% think it would be helpful to create tools to measure and share the quality of care in their organizations, and 84% think IT can help their physicians increase patient contact and involvement.

Direct patient contact with the hospital, through portals and other ways to do business online, drew favorable reactions from 83% of respondents. Though only 18% have partially or fully implemented a patient portal, another 62% are planning one.

Many of the 309 recent hospital patients Dell interviewed said they already use electronic tools for health-related tasks. The patients also said they want to use more technology to monitor and manage their healthcare in the future.

Of the patients surveyed, three out of four use sites like WebMD at least occasionally to research their health concerns. Three out of four also want their records shared electronically among their providers, and 81% want electronic access to information about their hospitals and doctors.

Additionally, more than 70% want to be able to email their doctor, and 76% want their prescriptions sent to their pharmacy electronically. Only 37% expressed concern about their health data being shared among physicians, and 45% were worried about hospitals sharing their data (though only 17% are "very concerned").

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