CIOs need to consider new course to promote EMR adoption

CIOs will need to think and act far differently than in past years to successfully drive the use of and implement EMRs, according to an Accenture survey of CIOs who already have achieved advanced use of EMRs within their hospitals and health systems.

Less than 1 percent of health systems have achieved "mature use" of EMRs in 2009, Accenture estimated. However, at the same time, nearly half of all U.S. hospitals could have trouble meeting federal EMR meaningful use requirements by 2015, according to Accenture's new report, "Secrets of Success on the EMR Journey to Meaningful Use: Leading Hospital CIOs Reveal Key Lessons Learned."

"From strategic planning, staffing and adoption, health systems are integrating technology at a previously unprecedented level, but many health systems are lagging and at risk of facing penalties," said Mark Knickrehm, global managing director, Accenture Health Practice, in a statement.

One of the survey's key findings is that most major health systems are underestimating the time and cost associated with implementing advanced EMR functions.

In addition, Accenture noted that hospitals can expect spikes in operating costs over the course of the EMR journey. Benchmarking has found that hospitals could experience an 80 percent increase in IT operating expenses while transitioning to EMRs.

Also, when it comes to healthcare IT resources and staffing to support EMRs, a significant gap exists in finding qualified personnel. Over the next year, an estimated 90 percent of hospitals will be investing to install/upgrade EMRs--thus driving even greater competition for top IT talent, according to Accenture.

For more details:
- read this Health IT Update post
- see the release from Accenture