Viva health IT

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Kaitlyn Dmyterko - 17.10 Kb
Kaitlyn Dmyterko, associate editor

At this year’s Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in Las Vegas, it was all health IT all the time. But despite the hustle and bustle to meet meaningful use guidelines, implement ICD-10 codes and e-prescribe, leaders from the health IT world sat down to converse on one of the hottest topics in healthcare—IT.

While many agree that electronic health systems best bogged-down, paper-based charting systems, many are left wondering how feasible and costly it will be to reach government deadlines.

At a Feb. 22 session, William Morgan, MBA, senior regional information management executive for Christus Spohn Health System in Corpus Christi, Texas, reassured those in the health IT field. While he agreed that there are many challenges, he also said that there are multiple solutions.

Major challenges for health IT include: regulatory challenges; gaining mobile access; demand management; fiscal challenges; and the explosion of data. However, Morgan offered that meaningful use tracking tools such as the EHR could be the instrument that will help carry facilities to quality improvement and compliance.

But meaningful use goers may not have to fret just yet, at least not until 2014. Farzad Mostashari, MD, national coordinator for health IT, announced Feb. 22 that Stage 1 meaningful use requirements would be extended until fiscal year 2014. The rule will retain 90-day reporting requirements in the first year of Stage 1 and providers will be in Stage 1 for two years. A proposed rule for meaningful use Stage 2 is scheduled to be published Feb. 23 in the Federal Register, and will include a push toward standards-based exchanges.

Another topic illuminated staffing shortages. Results of a HIMSS leadership study showed that these shortages may now outweigh financial concerns, which has often been tapped as the No. 1 barrier to implementing health IT. Sixty-one percent of health IT leaders expected to increase staff in 2012, but only 5 percent expected a staffing decrease.

How can we overcome these staffing shortages? Alignment, rather than acquisition, offered Gaurov Dayal, MD, chief medical officer at Adventist HealthCare in Rockville, Md. In fact, Dayal noted that hospitals should align with physician practices to maximize reimbursement.

He defined alignment as a “close working relationship in which a hospital and physicians place a priority on working toward common goals and avoiding conduct that damages the other.”

As the baby boomer population ages, the cardiovascular world will also experience a physician shortage. Particularly as patients get older and sicker, they will need to receive more specialized cardiovascular care. Keep an eye out for our feature story on this topic in the upcoming magazine. To subscribe, click here.

Kaitlyn Dmyterko
Cardiovascular Business, associate editor