Low health IT spending: An innovation killer?

Investment in IT by hospitals and healthcare organizations is far lower than it should be, Ray Campbell, CEO of the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium, told a crowd at last week's New England eHealth Innovation Conference, according to a CMIO article. Because of that, Campbell--a former lawyer who also has served as a private practice consultant on public policy, technology and the law--said that innovation is lagging in the United States.

Campbell specifically was comparing IT spending in healthcare to IT spending in other industries, but interestingly, his viewpoint doesn't appear to be one that is in unison with others across the healthcare IT spectrum. For instance, a survey conducted by healthsytstemCIO.com earlier this month found that many hospital CIOs, in fact, are comfortable with the level of IT spending in their facilities. Many hospitals have had no trouble, for instance, bringing in consultants to help with various IT transitions.

What's more, according to the most recent annual leadership survey conducted by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society earlier this year, health IT executives aren't daunted by lower IT spending. Twenty-one percent of respondents to that survey said lack of staff, and not financial support, was the biggest barrier to IT implementation.

On a national scale, President Obama raised the federal government's allotted health IT spending to $11.8 billion in fiscal year 2013 from $11.6 billion in FY2012. That jibes with Campbell's proclamation that innovation "is going to be a team sport." He called the transformation of healthcare "politically uncomfortable and unpopular" due to the fact that it forces behavior change.

To learn more:
- read this CMIO article

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