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Host: As healthcare organizations race to comply with deadlines in the transition to electronic health records, they’re discovering it’s not that easy and it’s not just about the technology. As we’re about to learn, it helps to have people experienced in the best health IT (HIT) practices leading the way. We’re joined now by Allen Kriete, vice president of TEKsystems healthcare services. Welcome, Allen.
Allen: Glad to be here Jacky.
Host: Also joining us, Von Baker, EHR practice director for TEKsystems. Welcome to you, too, Von.
Von: Thank you for having me.
Host: Allen, this seems like such an enormous shift in healthcare. How big is the electronic health records market and what are the main business drivers behind these EHR investments?
Allen: Jacky, when you look at the overall marketplace, you’re talking about five or six thousand hospitals across the United States. By 2016 the industry will be around $8 billion.
Allen: Continued growth is expected over the next couple of years. The main drivers behind that? The first ones are incentive payments from the government. Pushing organizations to save costs, find better ways for healthcare and improve the overall quality of care with individuals.
Host: Von, what are the main challenges that organizations face in planning for and implementing EHR systems? It doesn’t sound easy.
Von: And it’s not easy, Jacky. There are two critical challenges that organizations face that could severely impede EHR return on investment. The first challenge is a shortage of qualified health IT resources. Yes, it’s a huge challenge out there. Yet the industry is experiencing a lack of more than 50,000 HIT resources. Attracting and retaining these resources that can support EHR implementations? Healthcare organizations are going to have to take on new strategies and partner with service providers for more talent management expertise.
The second challenge that organizations face is taking a reactive stance to end-user adoption and usability. Adoption and usability are critical success factors that often take a backseat to the implementation itself. When organizations don’t invest in the financial and the human resources to develop more effective change management and workflow-based training, providers and clinicians spend less face-to-face time with the patients. There is a reduction in productivity as well as customer satisfaction scores and although these are outcomes that are initially expected, healthcare organizations are not realizing adoption and usability rates in an acceptable timeframe.
Host: So, Allen, to sum it up, what should healthcare organizations be looking for when selecting an EHR service partner?
Allen: Jacky, having an organization that has the depth and experience throughout all phases of the implementations is critical. Someone that has deep experience, that’s helped these organizations throughout the years. Organizations that are flexible, that are willing to snap in wherever the organization needs them. That understands the organizational goals that can be flexible with their approach and their process and their implementation and their training. To be able to meet those goals at all levels.
Secondly, organizations that have access to that type of talent. The health IT labor market is strapped for resources today. The organizations that are looking for those need to have proactive ways to find them, to retain them, to keep them working, to keep them productive. Our experience with that labor pool, our experience in the industry provides that type of experience and visibility and provides a lot of comfort to those organizations.
Host: Well Von and Allen, your insights into the issues that healthcare organizations face and the real world experiences you’ve shared make it perfectly clear why they can’t do this alone. Thank you so much for being here. It’s been great.
Allen: Thank you for having us, Jacky.
Von: Thank you, Jacky.