Survey: Wisconsin hospitals rapidly becoming health IT adopters

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By the end of the 2008 fiscal year, 50 percent of Wisconsin hospitals were considered to be “high” users of health IT—a 25 percent increase over 2007, according to the Wisconsin Health Association’s (WHA) Annual Survey of Hospitals.

According to the survey, which covers Wisconsin’s 125 acute-care hospitals through the end of the 2008 fiscal year, 92 percent of Wisconsin hospitals had fully implemented key patient care systems, including a lab information system (LIS); 77 percent had implemented CR solutions; 76 percent a RIS; and 73 percent a pharmacy system.

Based on a criteria that involves the implementation of seven specific information systems, the survey found that 50 percent of Wisconsin hospitals “are well on their way to completing their EMR system and 27 percent had completed implementation of all seven systems, an increase of 28 percent over the previous year. (The seven systems are: core master person index database, LIS, pharmacy system, enterprise medication administration record, RIS, computer provider order entry and results and inpatient charting.)

According to the WHA, the capital and operational cost of such systems are frequently cited as the largest barriers to health IT adoption. The survey found that the rate of spending to purchase, implement and support health IT systems equates to an average of 4 percent of hospital net patient revenue.

The survey concluded that despite the costs and complexity to implement health IT, Wisconsin hospitals are making “measureable advances in health IT adoption. As public policy decisions are made over the next few years, it will be essential to support this ongoing transformation through data driven distribution of incentive funding, procurement and implementation support, assurance of an adequate health IT workforce, and training for frontline care givers.”