Providers see value of HIEs, but most lack resources to deploy them

January 20, 2012 in Medical Technology

WEYMOUTH, MA – A new study from healthcare management consulting firm Beacon Partners finds that many healthcare executives recognize the benefits of participating in a health information exchange, but lack an HIE budget.

Nonetheless, nearly 70 percent of survey respondents are currently planning for an HIE, despite their perceptions of high start-up costs and other governance issues.

[See also: HIEs offer ‘astronomical benefits’.]
More than 200 healthcare C-suite executives responded to the Beacon Partners study –  more than half of them CIOs. Most respondents (58 percent) were from community hospitals, which is the largest segment of the hospital industry, according to the American Hospital Association.

“HIEs are top of mind for many healthcare organizations, and this study demonstrates their concerns and overall opinions,” says Kevin Burchill, director at Beacon Partners. “We’ve seen and heard firsthand that healthcare executives know the importance and benefits of an HIE, but this study confirms their concerns over the lack of a budget – mostly due to high start-up costs and insufficient capital.”

[See also: Beacon Partners acquires Healthcare Innovative Solutions.]

In fact, 41 percent of respondents consider high start-up costs and insufficient capital to support HIEs as their top concerns. Other findings include:

  • 64 percent of respondents named the CIO as the person responsible for HIE development, while governance considerations for HIEs and potential connecting “partners” are the responsibility of others in the C-suite leadership group.
  • Approximately half of respondents have not yet created a department, oversight group or executive role to handle the HIE initiative.
  • 38 percent of respondents have annual budgets for HIE development of less than $1 million, while 21 percent have no budget.
  • 66 percent of respondents see HIEs as a positive move for their organization and 42 percent also believe HIEs will improve patient outcomes (and not one respondent felt it would have a negative effect on patient outcomes).
  • Other HIE components that respondents felt would have a positive impact on their organization: primary care connectivity (88 percent), continuum-of-care (84 percent), clinical quality reporting (74 percent), patient accessibility (67 percent), interoperable IT systems (66 percent) and medical staff alignment efforts (59 percent).

To download the executive summary, click here (PDF).

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