That was the conclusion drawn from the responses of 220 hospital administrators who participated in the KPMG Healthcare & Pharmaceutical Institute webcast on EHR deployment best practices in May.
Specifically, the poll results found that49 percent of hospital and health system business leaders said they were more than halfway done.
Yet, a good 48 percent responded that they were only somewhat comfortable with the size of the budget that their organization had dedicated for the EHR project. Another 9 percent reported feeling uncomfortable with the budget while 18 percent said they were unsure. Only 25 percent said they were very comfortable.
“There is a level of uneasiness as to whether there is adequate funding to complete these projects,” said Gary Anthony, principal with KPMG Healthcare, in a news release. “In most organizations, EHR deployment will most likely be one of the most transformational projects that they’ve ever undertaken, as well as one of the largest investments outside of the construction of a new hospital they’ve ever made. Yet, many organizations view EHR as just an IT project and that may be why we are seeing multiple extensions to scope, time line and budget.”
The disconnect between implementing an EHR program and budgeting for it may be accounted for by the fact that hospitals are not realizing that the software program is not the end in itself. It’s a process for the whole hospital ecosystem to use automation and technology to improve quality and patient safety.
“There needs to be continued focus on resourcing and having the correct sponsorship and commitment to deploy an EHR and to continue to support and use it,” said Jerry Howell, principal with KPMG Healthcare.
The poll also found that respondents are also managing the EHR deployment differently. A majority of health systems — 46 percent — are adopting a mix of strategies — using existing staff as well as hiring people and employing a third party contractor. But others are adopting one approach or the other. Those who were leveraging existing staff comprised 16 percent of respondents. Another 13 percent reported hiring additional staff while 13 percent responded that they were working with third parties.
One strategy to ensure an optimal outcome for the EHR deployment is to have a”joint ownership between the CIO and a clinical executive, for example, COO, CMIO, CMO, or VP Patient Care,” Howell advised.
[Photo Credit: Flickr User Neff Conner]
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