HIMSS survey: Patient safety, HIPAA compliance remain top priorities

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Upgrading security on IT systems to meet HIPAA requirements (48 percent) and implementing technology to reduce medical errors and promote patient safety (47 percent) again this year topped the IT priorities in the Health Information and Management Systems Society's (HIMSS) Leadership Survey.

The 15th annual poll took feedback from 307 healthcare facility CIOs and directors of information systems.

Forty-six percent noted that implementing privacy modifications to meet HIPAA requirements - the third-highest ranked priority; down 14 percent from last year - while replacing and/or upgrading inpatient clinical systems were the third-highest ranked priority in 44 percent of the responses - an increase of 6 percent from a year ago.

Areas which showed an increase in importance over the 2003 survey include:

  •  Implementing wireless systems - 37 percent, compared with 20 percent in 2003;
  •  Process/workflow redesign - 32 percent, compared with 16 percent a year ago; and
  •  Training personnel to use systems - 26 percent, compared with 15 percent in 2003.

Bar-coded medication management was the IT application that was cited most frequently by survey respondents as being the healthcare application they considered important to their organization in the next two years.

The second most frequently cited areas were clinical information system and an electronic medical record (EMR); each priority received priority status by 52 percent of the respondents.