Health IT’s Most Pressing Issues (Part 4)

Health IT’s most pressing issues may be so prevalent that they can’t be contained to a single post, as is obvious here, the fourth installment in the series detailing some of the biggest IT issues. There are differing opinions as to what the most important issues are, but there are many clear and overwhelming problems for the sector. Data, security, interoperability and compliance are some of the more obvious, according to the following experts, but those are not all, as you likely know and we’ll continue to see.

Here, we continue to offer the perspective of some of healthcare’s insiders who offer their opinions on health IT’s greatest problems and where we should be spending a good deal, if not most, of our focus. If you’d like to read other installments in the series, go here: Health IT’s Most Pressing Issues, Health IT’s Most Pressing Issues (Part 2) and Health IT’s Most Pressing Issues (Part 3). Also, feel free to let us know if you agree with the following, or add what you think are some of the sector’s biggest boondoggles.

Charles A. “Drew” Settles, product analyst, TechnologyAdvice

Charles A. “Drew” Settles
Charles A. “Drew” Settles

First and foremost, of all the issues facing healthcare technology, I believe the top issue is the interoperability (or lack thereof) of most electronic medical records systems. Interfacing systems from disparate vendors usually takes expensive custom development, but hopefully the push for free access to EMR/EHR APIs in Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use Incentive program will finally bring semantic interoperability to health IT.

Paul Cioni, senior vice president, Healthcare & Infor Solutions Sales, Velocity Technology Solutions
The top issue facing healthcare CIOs is that there is simply too much for them to do, including major initiatives involving information security, patient confidentiality, and revenue cycle management and reimbursement. Most are focusing on what’s urgent, rather than on what’s important. All of these issues are not only competing for a CIO’s budget, but also for his/her time. With so many things on the “as soon as possible” priority list, healthcare CIOs barely have time to strategically plan. It’s difficult for CIOs to create a five-year plan for the organization’s IT when they’re trying to figure out the next five months. A disaster recovery plan, for example, may not get created when CIOs are more concerned with downtime of clinical applications or the reporting of a data breach to the regulatory authorities.

Paul Cioni
Paul Cioni

The use of the cloud — with a comprehensive but flexible portfolio of service options- helps relieve CIOs from what I call the “tyranny of the urgent.” By allowing a cloud provider to manage a variety of back-office and ERP-related functions, the CIO can shift his focus to systems that affect clinical outcomes. Extending the secure, private cloud approach to clinical systems liberates key resources — budget and people — to focus on achieving meaningful use or embracing population health initiatives. Cloud deployment options like disaster recovery as a service or desktop as a service can conserve capital dollars and speed time to outcome. It’s not one issue – it’s all of them.

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