Sweeping Reform Puts Pressure on Healthcare IT Departments

U.S. healthcare organizations have a lot riding on the success of their Electronic Medical Record (EMR) solution deployment.  With billions of dollars and quality of patient care on the line, there’s no room for mistakes or delays. Tasked with implementing the EMR solution, healthcare IT departments across the country are scrambling to successfully implement an EMR solution before the government’s imposed deadline.  Armed with the proper planning and organizational support, healthcare IT departments can successfully implement an EMR solution with minimal impact on their organization.

Why the sudden push for healthcare organizations to implement an EMR solution? As a response to economic crisis, Congress passed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).  The ARRA was meant to spur economic growth and create job growth.  As part of the ARRA, congress created a section titled: The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. This section was created to improve health care quality, safety and efficiency through the promotion of health information technology (HIT).  To facilitate the adoption of new technology within the healthcare industry, the HITECH authorized over $20 billion of incentives to healthcare organizations who implement and demonstrate “meaningful use” of an EMR solution for up to five years. Failure to demonstrate “meaningful use” by January 2015 will result in monetary penalties, which could be as great as $1.5 million

Impact on Healthcare IT Departments

The passing of the HITECH has forced healthcare IT organizations to shift their IT strategy for the next three years.  Now, the majority of their time and energy will be spent focusing on a successful EMR implementation without inducing a significant impact on the quality of patient care and daily operations of the organization.  Healthcare IT needs to achieve this while the entire organization watches their every move.

With the increased pressure and changes to IT strategy, healthcare IT departments have been able to successfully implement an EMR solution with relative ease and ahead of schedule. The best way for healthcare IT to be successful is for the entire organization to embrace it.  One of our customers, who successfully implemented an EMR solution, put it best by saying, “EMR is an operations project, not an IT project.”  The ability of the whole organization to adapt the EMR solution and assist their IT departments is key to ensuring a successful EMR implementation. 

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