Many HL7 professionals unaware of organization's Meaningful Use preparedness

Close to one-third of all HL7 professionals responding to a new survey on the Health Level 7 interface market said they did not know their organization's preparedness to achieve Meaningful Use. Moreover, 4 percent of such respondents said they did not know what Meaningful Use is.

The survey, conducted by Raleigh, N.C.-based health information security company Core Health Technologies, polled a total of 1,350 individuals, including HL7 professionals, CIOs, chief technology officers and IT managers.

The survey found that although information security is always top of mind for health IT professionals, it's not necessarily a top priority. Two percent of overall respondents called information security a "top 3 priority." Still, 89 percent of CIOs and 90 percent of IT managers said that information security was "integral to at least one of their organization's top priorities."

Further aggravating their ability to meet Meaningful Use, roughly one-third of all organizations don't have a strategy to retain staffers, according to the survey. The survey's authors wonder whether there is a connection between the lack of retention strategies and low tenure of HL7 professionals. Although 60 percent of such professionals have 10 or more years of experience, almost half have less than three years tenure at their current organization.

Last month, HL7 decided to offer its intellectual property, including standards for interoperability, free of charge via licensing agreements, beginning in 2013.

A survey by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives last month found that more than two-thirds of healthcare organizations are experiencing staffing shortages. Three-fourths of CIOs in the survey said that help with clinical software implementation and implementing clinical systems, such as electronic health records, are their top priorities.

In a blog post last month from Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO John Halamka, Stage 2 of Meaningful Use depends on many HL7 standards.

To learn more:
- here's the survey (.pdf)

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