Organizations Embrace Clinical Improvement but Require Tools for Data Analysis

HIMSS survey finds that only 35 percent of respondents have easy access to electronic data 

Healthcare organizations are embracing the need for information transparency to drive clinical transformation, but they still require the tools and capabilities to make data available in real time and reduce the burden on scarce resources. These are among the key findings from the HIMSS 2011 Clinical Transformation Survey, sponsored by McKesson.

Three-quarters of respondents indicated they already have in place or are establishing a formal leadership team to address clinical transformation. However, less than half of the organizations reported sharing clinical measures with their staff and less than a third share financial data with employees, indicating an opportunity to improve transparency across stakeholders.
"Advanced clinical systems exponentially increase the amount of clinical information that is available to drive quality improvement," said Deborah Bulger, executive director, product management, Health Systems Performance Management, McKesson Provider Technologies. "But while data may be more widely available, this study suggests that many organizations still have a long way to go before it is accessible in a way that facilitates analysis and rapid, sustainable performance improvement. The government's program for meaningful use of EHRs, with its requirement to report on clinical quality measures as a byproduct of care, may bring about the tipping point we need to see real clinical transformation."

This is the HIMSS organization's first industry survey to measure clinical transformation. To ensure respondents had a level foundation for their responses, HIMSS and McKesson jointly developed the following definition. "Clinical transformation involves assessing and continually improving the way patient care is delivered at all levels in a care delivery organization. It occurs when an organization rejects existing practice patterns that deliver inefficient or less effective results and embraces a common goal of patient safety, clinical outcomes and quality care through process redesign and IT implementation. By effectively blending people, processes and technology, clinical transformation occurs across facilities, departments and clinical fields of expertise."

All respondents had to play a role in the clinical informatics environment at their organization, resulting in 175 usable responses to the survey. Respondents assessed the degree of clinical transformation within their organizations in terms of measurement, governance and leadership, organizational behavior and data access. Among the key findings:  

  • Just over 49 percent indicated their focus is on ensuring the organization has a fully operational electronic health record in place.
  • 78 percent of respondents share clinical data with clinical executives through a scorecard and/or dashboard; 69 percent share financial data through a scorecard/dashboard.
  • 58 percent of respondents say they use business intelligence tools to facilitate quality reporting.
  • 53 percent of respondents indicated their organization has documented efficiencies and cost savings related to clinical quality.
  • 78 percent of respondents say they have a formal leadership team that addresses clinical transformation. Another 57 percent said clinical transformation is part of the organization's strategic plan.
  • Almost 75 percent of respondents noted they need additional IT resources to better report on quality measures, followed by more staff (61 percent) and more money (58 percent).
  • Only 35 percent of respondents report that data at their organization are imported into a data repository or warehouse.
  • More than 40 percent of respondents rely on some level of manual analysis to facilitate quality reporting.

"The role of clinical informaticists, including nurse informaticists, continues to be a much valued and necessary position in today's healthcare organization because these experts are essential to the success of quality initiatives, participating in the executive clinical team that analyzes clinical data," said Joyce Sensmeier, MS, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, FAAN.  "The survey results indicate that these human resources are required to ensure that clinical transformation efforts benefit from appropriate access to clinical data that is derived from the electronic health record." 

Read the complete survey report.

HIMSS is a cause-based, not-for-profit organization exclusively focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of information technology (IT) and management systems for the betterment of healthcare. Founded 50 years ago, HIMSS and its related organizations have offices in Chicago, Washington, DC, Brussels, Singapore, Leipzig, and other locations across the United States. HIMSS represents more than 35,000 individual members, of which more than two thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations. HIMSS also includes over 520 corporate members and more than 120 not-for-profit organizations that share our mission of transforming healthcare through the effective use of information technology and management systems. HIMSS frames and leads healthcare practices and public policy through its content expertise, professional development, and research initiatives designed to promote information and management systems' contributions to improving the quality, safety, access, and cost-effectiveness of patient care. To learn more about HIMSS and to find out how to join us and our members in advancing our cause, please visit our website at
About McKesson
McKesson Corporation, currently ranked 15th on the FORTUNE 500, is a healthcare services and information technology company dedicated to making the business of healthcare run better. We partner with payers, hospitals, physician offices, pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies and others across the spectrum of care to build healthier organizations that deliver better care to patients in every setting. McKesson helps its customers improve their financial, operational, and clinical performance with solutions that include pharmaceutical and medical-surgical supply management, healthcare information technology, and business and clinical services. For more information, visit 


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