Despite doubts about finances, hospitals moving forward with EHRs

June 21, 2012 in Medical Technology

NEW YORK – A new study from KPMG finds nearly half of business leaders at hospitals and health systems are more than halfway through full EHR deployments, even as many harbor doubts about how much funding their organizations have planned to support the initiatives.
Some 49 percent of hospital and health system business administrators who participated in the poll said they were more than 50 percent of the way to completing EHR deployment.

[See also: Climbing the ladder: Step by step, inpatient EMRs are finding their level.]
Meanwhile, almost the same number (48 percent) of health system business leaders said they’re “only somewhat comfortable” with the level of budgeting their organization has planned for EHR deployment, according to KPMG. Nine percent said they weren’t comfortable at all while 18 percent said they were unsure.

Only 25 percent said they were “very comfortable.”
“There is a level of uneasiness as to whether there is adequate funding to complete these projects,” said Gary Anthony, principal with KPMG Healthcare. “In most organizations, EHR deployment will most likely be one of the most transformational projects that they’ve ever undertaken, as well as one of the largest investments outside of the construction of a new hospital they’ve ever made.”

Nonetheless, he added, many hospitals still look at EHR deployments as “just an IT project, and that may be why we are seeing multiple extensions to scope, timeline and budget.”

[See also: Hospital execs cite doc adoption as biggest MU hurdle.]

In terms of resource strategies used to complete EHR deployment, 46 percent of hospital and health system execs said they’re using a multiple-resource strategy. This was followed by leveraging existing staff (16 percent), hiring new or additional staff (13 percent) and securing third party assistance (10 percent). Fifteen percent said they didn’t know.
When asked whether their organization had a mobility access strategy that provides clinicians and patients with “anywhere” access to EHRs, roughly half of the administrators said they didn’t know.
“EHR deployment isn’t an end point,” said Jerry Howell, principal with KPMG Healthcare. “It’s an important step in an organization’s journey to automate the clinical functions within the hospital or health system and improvement to quality and patient safety. There needs to be continued focus on resourcing and having the correct sponsorship and commitment to deploy an EHR and to continue to support and use it.”

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