Overworked IT employees not likely to see EHRs as 'Meaningful' without some perks

Hospitals and practices are pushing hard to meet the government's goals for technology use in healthcare--and so are their exhausted IT teams, as the results of two recent surveys seem to indicate.  

The first survey, of 139 healthcare CIOs conducted by healthsystemCIO.com, found that more than 65 percent of those polled were "under excessive strain" because of Meaningful Use-related efforts. Nearly 54 percent of CIOs said they've been unable to fill open positions for at least three months. 

The other poll, which we report on in this issue, found that EHR adoption is on the rise among physician practices throughout the U.S. Since October 2010, physician usage of EHR software at all facilities, both large and small, has increased nearly 2 percent, according to data from healthcare marketing solutions firm SK&A, which surveyed more than 237,000 physician sites. 

Both surveys show that providers are pushing ahead. But how does this impact their already too-thin cadre of employees?

"Expectations for IT are at an all-time high," one CIO stated in the healthsystemCIO.com survey. "There is intense pressure for the institution to rein in costs and to trim budgets. This must happen while IT is expected to deliver more, yet bear ‘its fair share' of the cost-cutting pain." 

In their rush to qualify for incentives, however, these providers would be wise to take a moment to consider how to incentvize their own beleaguered staffs--perhaps an extra vacation day, a lunch out with the team or even a few gift cards as a way to say thank you. Of course, cash is always a welcome motivator. If it's good enough for providers, it's good enough for the hardworking teams who make it all happen. - Dan