Healthcare IT still a priority for community hospitals despite budgetary concerns

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Despite restrictive operational budgets, many community hospitals are still pushing forward with clinical informatics adoption initiatives, according to a new survey published by healthcare IT services provider Anthelio.

The study polled 1,200 community hospitals with fewer than 300 acute patient care beds on their operational budgets, and how plans to implement medical informatics systems have been affected. Despite struggles with operational spending, many community hospitals are engaged in several healthcare IT projects.

Results of the survey indicate that 69 percent of community hospitals have acquired and begun implementation of medical informatics systems. Of that figure, 29 percent have invested more than $8 million in such initiatives.

Participation in health information exchanges (HIEs) was also strong. Approximately 43 percent of respondents indicated that they are actively involved in HIE projects, and an additional 29 percent stated that they are considering joining an HIE. In addition, 95 percent of community hospitals stated that they had begun the transition to the new International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision codebase.

“The results of this survey indicate that community hospitals today face unprecedented operational and financial challenges that are exacerbated by rising costs and lower reimbursement rates,” said Rick Kneipper, chief strategy and innovation officer of Anthelio, as quoted by Healthcare IT News.

Despite positive attitudes towards healthcare IT spending, budgetary concerns remain a reality for many community hospitals, which account for the largest sector of the U.S. healthcare system.

According to the news source, only 23 percent of facilities polled indicated that they had operational budgets of more than 4 percent. Approximately 49 percent of respondents stated their budgets were less than 2 percent, and a further 38 percent claimed their operational budgets were less than 1 percent.