Rush to meet e-health deadlines could yield chaos

The rush to deploy comprehensive EHR systems to meet federal deadlines could create a "perfect storm" for healthcare IT: security gaps, system integration troubles, certification issues and clinician education issues, according to a two-part Computerworld report. To get it right, hospital IT pros first have to understand the technology they already have.

Erica Drazen, a managing partner in Computer Sciences Corp.'s healthcare group, told Computerworld that her company routinely asks prospective clients if they know where they are in EHR rollouts. Most have no idea.

A CSC survey found hospitals are just halfway to meeting federal standards for EHR reimbursement. There's both good news and bad in the CSC survey, Computerworld said. For example, about 70 percent of hospitals already can support CPOE, one of the most basic elements of an EHR, and might not need to buy new hardware or software to move ahead there. But just 8 percent have such systems throughout their facilities.

"The issue is the timelines," Denver Health CIO Gregg Veltri said. "I wonder if anybody understands the reality of IT systems and how complex they are, especially when they're integrated together."

For more:
- read part one and part two of the Computerworld report
- check out the CSC survey report