Pace of health IT adoption frustrates some hospital execs

Some hospital executives are growing impatient with the pace of technology adoption in healthcare, according to a recent roundtable discussion focusing on the future of health IT conducted by Becker's Hospital Review.

For instance, Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO of San Diego-based Scripps Health, told Becker's that he thinks health IT expansion has been "frustratingly slow." Arlyn Broekhius, vice president and CIO at Sioux Falls, N.D.-based Sanford Health echoed those sentiments, saying that he thinks healthcare IT has been in "catch-up mode" following too much underinvestment.

"It's frustrating when we can't do everything our users are requesting," Broekhius said. "There are limited resources and we have to prioritize."

Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center Vice President and CIO Shafiq Rab, meanwhile, called a lack of patient incentives discouraging considering that patients, he said, are key to improving healthcare.

"We incentivize the hospitals and eligible providers," Rab said. "To complete the circle we have to include mental health and sub-acute institutions, including rehab and nursing homes."

While Marc Chasin, vice president and CIO at St. Luke's Health System in Boise, Idaho, said he wasn't necessarily frustrated by anything in health IT, he also said that he thinks vendor partners could do a better job of engaging IT early on in the development of a business strategy. "Many times the strategy is developed and articulated but there often a misconception that the IT piece is a quick box to check when in actuality the development of technological capabilities is complex and requires careful planning prior to deploying a new service or business line," Chasin told Becker's.

A report published last fall by HIMSS Analytics found that while many hospitals had implemented electronic health record systems, they weren't rushing to embrace all that the tools offered. According to the report, of more than 4,800 hospitals, roughly one-fourth had not progressed at all on the HIMSS Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model scale, which monitors hospital use and development of EHRs. Four percent of those hospitals were stuck at stage zero, meaning they were still using paper-based records primarily.

Hospital CIOs on FierceHealthIT's Editorial Advisory Board recently said they think that it will be key for health systems to adopt business intelligence technology in 2014.

To learn more:
- here's the Becker's Hospital Review post