HIMSS Leadership Survey shows importance of health IT

Every year, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society releases a survey to publicize the progress of the health care industry. The results of this year's 26th Annual HIMSS Leadership Survey were issued at the 2015 HIMSS Annual Conference and Exhibition in Chicago to show attendees the impact that health IT is having on the industry.  

Survey shows providers rely heavily on health IT
The triple aim was created by the Institute of Healthcare Improvement and includes enhancing the patient experience, advancing population health outcomes and cutting the overall costs of health care. The survey included 300 respondents and asked questions concerning essential health care issues like privacy and security concerns, health insurance models and federal regulations. The findings of the HIMSS survey show that a total of 68 percent of participants believe that health IT, such as electronic health record systems, is enhancing the triple aim. 

"This year's survey showed that more than one-third of participants report that their organization was able to demonstrate improvement in all three areas covered in the triple aim as a result of their IT use," John H. Daniels, vice president of strategic relations at the HIMSS, said in a public statement, according to EHR Intelligence. "These numbers are critical as they prove the continued progress healthcare is making as IT integrates with value-based care strategies and the growing influence of the patient in health encounters. It will be important for providers to capitalize on this momentum to ensure improved patient satisfaction as the sector begins the transition from Stage 2 to Stage 3 of Meaningful Use."

The survey also shows that two-thirds of participants experienced an improvement among their patient experience due to their health IT. Meanwhile, more than half found there to be more impressive health outcomes after implementing an EHR system, and 53 percent agree that health IT reduces medical costs. These results are likely to look even better in the future, as providers – 72 percent – are planning to focus their efforts over the next two years on patients by enhancing features like the patient portal to improve patient engagement, patient satisfaction and care quality. 

As a result of these plans, the budget for health IT operations will be higher for two-thirds of the survey takers by 2016. Nearly half of the practices will also be investing in more IT staffing over the coming several months to assist with the implementation and daily operations of their health technologies. 

Health IT key to ensuring improvements
To achieve improvements for practice workflow and patient care, the adoption of EHRs and additional health IT is key. In fact, the survey also shows that 76 percent of respondents feel that their technologies make their business strategies better, while approximately 81 percent of participants find their health IT systems to play a major role in their practices' strategic health care solutions.

In many circumstances, health IT starts at the top of a facility or practice with the executives and managers and eventually spreads to the doctors and nurses. Around 72 percent of the participants said that their board of directors not only supports but promotes the expansion of health IT. Similarly, almost 80 percent of the respondents reported that their practices' executives show support for the implementation of health IT.

Care coordination is another essential aspect of successful patient care quality, which is why almost three-fourths of the survey participants plan on taking advantage of health technologies to improve this essential aspect. The vast majority of respondents also reported having a patient portal with which patients are able to access their personal health data at home.