Survey: New jobs, extended meaningful use deadline possible

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Healthcare organization executives plan to outsource their EMR adoption--meaning an uptick in healthcare industry hiring--and a majority believe that the meaningful use deadline will extended by the government, according to a study on where healthcare leaders are in terms of the EHR adoption process from Beacon Partners.

In February 2010, the Weymouth, Mass.-based healthcare management consulting firm surveyed 168 healthcare organization executives, including 44 percent from community hospitals. One-fourth of respondents did not believe their organization would meet the first meaningful use deadline. Although a majority of respondents believed that the U.S. government will extend the meaningful use deadlines, Beacon Partners suggested that organizations continue on their journey and be flexible enough to adjust their pace of IT adoption to maximize their incentives.

Two-thirds of executives stated that they will be hiring or outsourcing to compensate for their lack of internal resources. According to the report, 54 percent of respondents are not automated on computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and for those facilities that have implemented CPOE, only 23 percent have been using the system for three or more years. In addition, 67 percent view their own internal issues as the biggest obstacle to EMR adoption.

According to the report, 45 percent claimed they did not have the necessary resources to successfully implement their EMR or that they weren’t sure.

Half of the participants stated that their system is already CCHIT Certified while one-fifth claimed their's was not and that upgrading was in their future, according to the report.

New jobs could be created from the outsourcing, Beacon Partners stated. As the report noted, the hope is to have as many as 6.8 million new jobs by the end of fiscal year 2012 created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. “The HITECH portion of the ARRA has allocated $19.2 billion intended to be used to increase the use of EHRs by physicians and hospitals,” according to the report.

From the study, Beacon Partners concluded that facilities are well on their way to implementing some form of EHR solution. “Most are reviewing or have completed the review stage of implementing the new technologies,” stated the consulting firm.