Clinical Improvement On Tap, But Data Analysis Tools Still Required

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Healthcare organizations are embracing the need for information transparency to drive clinical transformation. Nonetheless, they still require the tools and capabilities to make data available in real time and reduce the burden on scarce resources.

imageThese are among key findings of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2011 Clinical Transformation Survey, sponsored by McKesson. Survey respondents assessed the degree of clinical transformation within their organizations in terms of measurement, governance and leadership, organizational behavior, and data access.

Among notable survey findings:

  • Fully operational electronic healthy records (EHRs) are a priority, with 49% of respondents indicating that they are focused on ensuring their organization has a fully operational EHR in place.
  • Easy access to electronic data is not an overwhelming concern; 35% of survey participants already enjoy this benefit.
  • The value of business intelligence tools is clearly recognized by some healthcare organizations; such tools are being used by 58 percent of respondents to facilitate quality reporting.
  • Management takes “clinical transformation” seriously; 78% of healthcare organizations polled have leadership teams are in place to address it.

“It’s clear from the survey results that clinical transformation is being implemented as an enterprise-wide effort,” says Joyce Sensmeier, MS, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, FAAN, vice president, informatics, HIMSS. ”It’s a continual process, and, as one would hope, nurses and physicians are well represented on the transformation teams. It is also clear that organizations are challenged by the multitude of influencers driving the use of quality metrics, including Meaningful Use/ARRA, other federal initiatives, The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum.”

Sensmeier adds that business intelligence tools and data repositories/warehouses are not yet being fully leveraged to extract the data necessary to analyze and improve care delivery and outcomes. Moreover, she says, the push to advance EHR implementations and realize financial incentives has created an environment where recruitment of “all hands on deck” is occurring to simply get the job done. Consequently, on-the-job training remains a common strategy for IT implementation by today’s healthcare organizations.

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