Almost all of the many innovations which will supposedly transform health care over the next few years are dependent upon greater use of health information technology by providers, payers, regulators and even patients. That technology will supposedly lead to better information sharing and better use of data about patients’ health and care. The federal government is spending tens of billions of dollars directly on HIT and to subsidize its use by providers. So what is the current state of the field? Deloitte and the American Medical Informatics Association conducted a survey of organizations involved in health care to ascertain their perspective on use of HIT and data. (Deloitte Report)
The survey had 97 respondents, of whom 73 were from provider organizations, mostly hospitals, 17 were from pharmaceutical and medical device companies and 7 were from health plans.
Many respondents believed that there was a strong return-on-investment from having and using electronic clinical data, but there was also a widespread concern about being able to find sufficient personnel qualified to create and use such data and about the ability to generate clean, comprehensive and usable clinical data. The stronger the perception of a good ROI, the more commitment in an organization to generating and using such data, or vice versa; there was a strong correlation between the two. Most organizations seem to have a significant and potentially adequate budget for HIT activities and to have adequate senior management commitment to health informatics, but organizations are still not sure they are well-prepared for more use of electronic clinical data. Prescription and claims data were perceived as having the highest value among these respondents. An interesting start on what hopefully will be a series of surveys that report in more depth on health informatics use in health care firms.