News Feature | March 21, 2017

EHRs Top Priority List For Healthcare CIOs

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Healthcare CIOs

KPMG survey finds optimizing EHRs and population health among leading priorities.

EHR optimization and population health over the next three years top the list of priorities for healthcare CIOs, according to a survey by KPMG of College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) members. The poll found 38 percent of CIOs cited optimizing EHRs as their chief investment priority, while 21 percent said they will invest in accountable care and population health technologies.

CIOs cited additional priorities for investment, including consumer/clinical and operational analytics (16 percent), virtual/telehealth technology enhancements (13 percent), revenue cycle systems replacement (7 percent), and enterprise resource planning systems and replacements (6 percent).

“Meaningful Use, HITECH, and new payment models have encouraged healthcare providers to invest in EHRs, but some didn’t mesh with how doctors and nurses work,” says Ralph Fargnoli, Advisory managing director at KPMG and author of Beyond Implementation: Optimizing EHRs to Maximize Results. “A majority of doctors are dissatisfied with EHRs. We need to make these systems secure, easier to use, and interoperable across the continuum of care to effectively treat patients and uncover where quality and efficiency can be improved.”

The survey also found improving clinical/business processes was the leading challenge, followed closely by improving operating efficiency and delivering business intelligence/analytics. Additionally, the study found approximately one-quarter of respondents reported their organizations were already investing in or implementing cloud computing infrastructure, with 18 percent putting investment into enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions.

Sixty-three percent of respondents stated their spending plans were likely to remain constant over the next year, while 44 percent expected them to remain steady for the next two years. Meanwhile, 18 percent anticipate higher spending levels over the next year, while 36 percent expect a boost in operating budgets during the next twenty-four months.

The survey polled 112 members of CHIME regarding their healthcare IT investment priorities.

These findings complement those of the SPOK, Inc., survey  looking at how IT leaders are addressing gaps in infrastructure as mobile use expands. The study, completed last Fall, found that eight out of ten CIOs have prioritized strengthening data security as their number one goal, followed by increasing patient satisfaction, and improving physician satisfaction.