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US health systems are facing unprecedented pressures.
The government mandate to demonstrate meaningful use of electronic medical records (EMRs) by 2015 or face stiff penalties has only heightened these pressures.
Healthcare providers must update their IT infrastructure to adhere not only to these new government regulations, but also to requirements coming from the World Health Organization (such as the new ICD-10 coding). Given that a small percentage of providers are currently in compliance with the meaningful use requirements, the transition to EMR will represent a watershed moment for the industry.
To prepare for that transition, Accenture conducted in-depth interviews with 15 CIOs of leading US health systems. Each organization in our study is evaluating options for achieving meaningful use.
The results of Accenture’s 2010 EMR study, Secrets of Success on the EMR Journey to Meaningful Use: Leading Hospital CIOs Reveal Key Lessons Learned, reveal six best practices that can help health systems implement EMR and optimize their investment. Ranging from the basic (such as securing commitment from top leadership and managing rising IT costs) to the surprising (including strategies for winning buy-in from clinicians), these best practices can make the EMR terrain easier to navigate. Result? Health systems capture valuable incentives while avoiding painful penalties.
The key take-away from this study is that achieving meaningful use compliance takes longer and costs more than CIOs expect. This is due, in part, to the shift in thinking that the EMR journey requires. EMR is not just an isolated IT initiative. Successful EMR adoption and implementation requires a strategic initiative with buy-in among all key stakeholders in the health system, not just the IT department.
EMR must be extensively planned for and explained so that it becomes a real benefit to personnel, doctors, nurses, and administrators who will be using the technology on the front lines. Technology must move from the back office to the front office where information, captured in the EMR, can be used to achieve better outcomes for patients.
Accenture's 2010 EMR study, Secrets of Success on the EMR Journey to Meaningful Use: Leading Hospital CIOs Reveal Key Lessons Learned, is based on a series of discussions with 15 CIOs of leading US health systems with revenues ranging from $1 to $15 billion. The study included representation from all geographies within the United States and included academic medical centers.
Participating hospital systems were identified as leaders owing to their advanced use of EMR solutions, and nearly all are expected to achieve meaningful use by 2011. These hospitals are distinct in their US peer group. They provide a preview of how many US hospitals will be affected as they move to more advanced levels of EMR maturity. In some cases, we augmented analysis of our interviewers with data from third-party research.
As with any benchmarking study, the data from our study are intended to provide an impression of overall trends rather than absolute figures. The trends and metrics examined in this benchmarking effort have been influenced by a wide array of factors, each of which will be configured differently for individual hospitals or hospital systems.
Our benchmarking analysis suggests six key best practices that can help healthcare executives navigate the EMR terrain:
While taking the best possible care of patients is a mission that all healthcare stakeholders believe in, adopting and using an EMR system requires a fundamental shift in how the organizations carry out their work, which can create a chaotic and difficult environment. Moreover, setting up an EMR system and optimizing the data it generates is time consuming and expensive.
Leveraging what peers have already learned about EMR implementation can help your organization’s EMR journey. In considering the insights and best practices shared in this study, chances for a smooth EMR journey increase substantially.
January 4, 2011
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