Penn. hospitals lead country in IT, according to AHA survey

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In fall 2006, the American Hospital Association (AHA) conducted a survey to gauge the extent of health IT and better understand hindrances to adoption. Results of that survey indicate that Pennsylvania-based hospitals lead the United States in health IT adoption.

The Hospital and Healthsystem of Pennsylvania (HAP), which includes more than 250 healthcare organizations, released the AHA’s findings on Aug. 28, 2007, in a report entitled, Improving Patient Care: Pennsylvania Hospitals' Use of Information Technology.

Key findings of the survey:   
•    Pennsylvania hospitals use more health IT functions at a moderate or high level than hospitals nationwide: 63 percent vs. 46 percent.
•    Pennsylvania hospitals use computerized order entry at a higher level than hospitals nationwide: 83 percent vs. 72 percent for lab, 81 percent vs. 70 percent for radiology.
•    Pennsylvania hospitals use electronic results review at a higher level than hospitals nationwide: 88 percent vs. 78 percent for lab, 86 percent vs. 77 percent for radiology reports, 73 percent vs. 64 percent for radiology images.
•    More Pennsylvania hospitals have partially or fully implemented EHRs than hospitals nationwide: 82 percent vs. 68 percent.
•    Pennsylvania hospitals spend more per bed, capital spending and operating costs on IT than hospitals nationwide: $6,912 vs. 5,556 per bed, $14,528 vs. $12,060 for operating costs.
•    Pennsylvania hospitals lead national averages in the use of bar-coding, electronic decision-support, radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, and sharing of clinical data.
•    Larger hospitals, teaching hospitals, urban hospitals, and hospitals with positive financial margins have implemented more health IT.

In the report, HAP raised several points that still must be considered: Hospitals are not interchangeable; the speed of clinical innovation and technology is expected to provide more improvements in the next 25 years than occurred during the past 100 years; the costs to implement health IT are significant; and no single health system should be mandated as it will not enable the innovation and improvement in care that is already occurring.