20 Aug Wisconsin hospitals not shirking investment in health information technology
Madison, Wis. – Nearly 90 percent of Wisconsin hospitals have implemented several key information technologies (HIT), according to report released by the Wisconsin Hospital Association.
The report, based on a survey of 122 acute care hospitals, focused on 16 healthcare information technology systems in use in today’s hospitals. The applicable technologies include advancements in the way medications are tracked and delivered to the patient, the ability to bring laboratory and medical imaging results into the computerized patient chart, and electronic patient records that can be accessed even when the physician is not physically in the hospital.
Nearly 90 percent of Wisconsin’s hospitals report that they have either partially or fully implemented five or more key HIT systems. Almost 40 percent report a high adoption rate and a total of 76 percent report moderate or high level of HIT use.
Other implementations are in the planning stage. For example, the survey showed that nearly half of Wisconsin hospitals are in the planning stage for a bedside medication verification system, while 46 percent have fully or partially implemented this safety technology.
The survey had a 100 percent response rate. The full report is available on the WHA Web site.
Regarding the spectrum if HIT use, 40 percent of hospitals had either fully or partially implemented 13-16 systems; 36 percent have fully or partially implemented 9-12 systems; 14 percent have fully or partially implemented five to eight systems; and 10 percent are getting started with zero to four systems.
In terms of electronic medical records, which integrate data gleaned from multiple HIT systems, 41 percent of Wisconsin hospitals have either fully or partially implemented EMRs, and 21 percent have fully implemented all the HIT systems that contribute to an EMR.
Among the systems that feed data to EMRs are the core master patient index database, lab information systems, pharmacy systems, enterprise medication administration records, radiology information systems, order entry and results, and inpatient charting.
Dana Richardson, WHA vice president of quality initiatives, said in a release that the ability of physicians and nurses to access a patient’s complete medical history, as they receive information about the patient’s current illness, is revolutionizing medicine. “Rapid access to a patient’s medical history is improving decision-making, which is one of the most important reasons to make the investment in information technology,” she said.
Hospitals are aware of these advantages, but cost remains a leading barrier to adoption. In 2006, the American Hospital Association pegged the median purchase cost of HIT at $5,000 per bed, per year and operating costs of $12,000 per bed, per year.
WHA President Steve Brenton said hospitals can’t do it alone. “All health care system participants who benefit – patients, employers, government programs, and insurers – have a stake in this investment,” he said.