HIMSS: Poor data access impedes hospital quality efforts

Three-fourths of respondents to a new HIMSS survey on clinical transformation--most of them executives of hospitals or healthcare systems--said that their organization has created or is establishing a leadership team to assess and continually improve the way care is delivered. Still, access to the data needed to measure and manage that change remains poor.

Only 35 percent of the 175 respondents, for example, said their organization had a data warehouse facilitating easy access to information. More than 40 percent said they relied on some type of manual analysis for quality reporting. "Since not all data is available in an electronic fashion with discrete data elements, reviewing charts by hand is still a key means for measuring clinical quality," the survey report says.

Almost 75 percent of the respondents noted that their organizations needed additional IT resources to improve reporting on quality measures. Sixty-one percent said they required more staff, and 58 percent more money, to do the job right.

In terms of organizational focus, about half of the executives said their main goal right now is to implement an electronic health record--an understandable aim in light of federal EHR incentives. Meaningful Use, along with the Joint Commission's and other quality programs, are driving healthcare organizations' choice of quality metrics, the report notes.

Beyond quality reporting, 80 percent of respondents are analyzing their clinical workflow and processes in an effort to understand how health IT can help them improve quality of care. But only 13 percent have a major focus on linking clinical systems with quality measures and outcomes.

To learn more:
- read the press release
- see the HIMSS survey report (.pdf) 

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