Patient engagement is a top-of-mind priority for nearly three-fourths of hospital IT executives who responded to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's latest annual leadership survey, unveiled Monday at HIMSS15 in Chicago.
Seventy-two percent of respondents said that consumer/patient considerations, including patient engagement, would make up a large part of their organization's strategy over the next two years. What's more, patient satisfaction and improvement of patient care both were viewed by 87 percent of respondents as major organizational business objectives over the next 12 months.
For the survey, HIMSS received responses from 330 individuals, 34 percent of whom identified themselves as department heads or directors, and another 30 percent of whom identified themselves as IT or technology executives, such as CIOs or chief technology officers.
"What I was really excited to see in this year's survey was patient engagement and quality of care really bubbling to the top across a number of our different questions," HIMSS Analytics Senior Research Director Jennifer Horowitz said at a press conference touting the survey.
One potential reason for the spike in interest to engage patients discussed by Horowitz and a panel of health IT executives at the survey's unveiling was the requirement to increase such interaction in Stage 2 of Meaningful Use. Bill Feaster, chief medical information officer at Children's Hospital of Orange County in California, shared that one of his four main categories of work going forward will be patient engagement and patient satisfaction.
"We're not going to improve the health of our population unless we get patients engaged in their own care," Feaster said.
Among some of the survey's other notable findings:
- Nearly half of the respondents (49 percent) said their organization used telemedicine strategies
- To engage patients, 19 percent of respondents said they use apps to monitor/measure vitals; 87 percent said they used a patient portal for engagement efforts
- 63 percent of respondents said they expect their organization's IT budget to increase within the next year; 49 percent expect the number of IT staff at their organization will increase
- 79 percent of respondents said their organization's executive team is highly supportive of IT; 72 percent indicated their organization's Board of Directors also was supportive of IT growth