Medical informatics adoption continues at many hospitals despite support concerns

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According to a new study published by KPMG, many hospitals are pressing ahead with the adoption of medical informatics systems despite lingering concerns over how the initiatives will be funded.

The global advisory firm polled more than 220 business leaders at hospitals and health systems across the country to determine the extent of their adoption of clinical informatics technology. Almost 50 percent of respondents indicated they were around halfway toward completing the introduction of healthcare IT systems.

However, an additional 48 percent of survey participants said they were “only somewhat comfortable” with the level of financial support dedicated to medical informatics adoption initiatives. Only 25 percent of respondents indicated they were “very comfortable” with the amount of funding secured for electronic health record (EHR) implementation goals.

“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. Yet, many organizations view EHRs as just an IT project and that may be why we are seeing multiple extensions to scope, timeline and budget.”

The report highlights attitudes toward medical informatics technology across the healthcare sector. While some hospitals and care facilities view healthcare IT as an integral part of their operational processes, many are failing to approach implementation projects with adequate resources.

Jerry Howell, another principal at KPMG Healthcare, said in addition to securing initial investment funding to develop healthcare IT projects, hospitals have to dedicate appropriate levels of funding to ensure medical informatics initiatives are supported properly. Approximately 15 percent of respondents did not know how they would approach continued development of EHR projects, while 16 percent indicated they plan to leverage existing staff to maintain their healthcare IT initiatives.