Patient engagement is top-of-mind among health information technology leaders, according to the 26th Annual HIMSS Leadership Survey, released today at the HIMSS Annual Conference and Exhibition in Chicago.
More than 300 IT professionals responded to the online survey, which HIMSS conducted in January and February 2015. The survey examined key trends that impact healthcare, including patient engagement, security, insurance models, and policy.
This HIMSS survey identified the top five business issues that IT leaders believe are impacting patient care delivery:
- Consumer/patient considerations
- Concerns related to privacy/security
- Changing payment/insurance models
- Policy mandates
- The ability to share patient information
Caregivers and CIOs are trying to accomplish a great deal with technologies, which are forever changing. In a press conference, senior director of Research HIMSS North America, Jennifer Horowitz, indicated that this year’s survey results “really illustrate how many different things healthcare organizations are dealing with at the same time.”
Despite the constantly moving parts, leaders surveyed by HIMSS indicated that IT is helping their organizations to achieve the Triple Aim of improving patient health experience, reducing healthcare costs, and improving population health.
John H. Daniels, vice president of strategic relations for HIMSS, indicated:
This year’s survey showed that more than one-third of participants report that their organization was able to demonstrate improvement in all three areas covered in the Triple Aim as a result of their IT use. These numbers are critical as they prove the continued progress healthcare is making as IT integrates with value-based care strategies and the growing influence of the patient in health encounters. It will be important for providers to capitalize on this momentum to ensure improved patient satisfaction as the sector begins the transition from Stage 2 to Stage 3 of Meaningful Use.
Specifically, over two-thirds of respondents indicated that IT is helping improve the patient experience, which includes satisfaction and engagement. When asked how their healthcare organizations are using IT to engage patients, 87% said that they provided patient portals and 82% indicated their organizations are leveraging their websites to ensure that they engage patients.
Health IT Is Working
Just over half of IT leaders surveyed said that health IT was reducing the cost of healthcare and improving population health. Seventy-four percent indicated IT was helping to achieve care coordination at their organizations.
In 81% of healthcare organizations, IT is considered a highly strategic tool, according to HIMSS Leadership Survey results. Of those surveyed, 72% said they highly agree that their organization’s board supports IT. The role of Chief Information Officer is crucial in educating boards about the value of health IT, with 75% of survey respondents indicating the CIO sits on the executive team primarily to facilitate education and value conversations.
Patient Portals Aren’t the Only Way to Engage Patients
Nearly three-quarters of the respondents (72%) indicated that consumer and patient issues, such as engagement, satisfaction, and quality of care, would impact their IT strategies over the next 24 months. Eighty-seven percent of respondents indicated their organizations offered patient portals.
In a press conference at HIMSS, CIOs and CMIOs from major US hospitals discussed the complexities involved in finding the right way to reach and engage patients. Myra Davis, senior vice president and CIO of Texas Children’s Hospital, said:
Strategically, it’s incumbent on providers to make sure their patients are engaged on portal. But you have patients who would rather talk to someone… Others that want convenience, rather than talk.
Co-panelist Dr. Bill Feaster, CMIO of Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) warned against relying too much on patient portals for patient engagement.
There are other ways to engage patients besides the portal, like texting. In epidemiology, for example, at age 12, we have to cut the portal use off because we can’t protect the patient’s privacy from parents – so we’re using secure texting for that population.
About the HIMSS Annual Conference
HIMSS is a global, non-profit organization focused on issues related to health IT. As of last night, 41,044 attendees had registered at the 2015 annual conference, far surpassing last-year’s record attendance of 35,509.
Over the next several days, I’ll be writing from the HIMSS conference in Chicago, bringing you insight into current health IT issues and trends.