Study: Hospitals plan IT investment despite financial stresses

Sure, hospitals have been taking it on the chin financially over the last several months. They've been forced to respond in lots of ways, including laying off workers, instituting hiring freezes, delaying capital projects and cutting budgets, while an unfortunate few have been forced to file for bankruptcy or put themselves up for sale.

Still, despite all of these stresses, it seems that most hospitals are determined to go ahead with critical IT projects like EMRs, computerized provider order entry systems and medication management platforms, according to a new study by the American Hospital Association, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives and the National Alliance for Health Information Technology.

The study, which surveyed 144 chief information officers and 27 chief financial offices and VPs of finance at hospitals, found that 55 percent of CFOs/VPs Finance are seeing some difficulty in accessing capital, and expect to keep wrestling with this for 12 to 24 months. This has meant delays in completing new facilities or facility upgrades (74 percent), deferring investments in new IT gear (57 percent), and lengthening time frames for implementing health IT projects.

CFOs/VPs of finance are stretching out timeframes for application projects (63 percent) and reducing spending on outsourced IT services (34 percent). Meanwhile, a full 94 percent have cut IT budgets by delaying or reducing the list of new projects or extending implementation times for existing projects.

To learn more about IT investment:
- read the NAHIT/AHA/CHIME study (.pdf)

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