CIOs in 2012: Meeting the HIT Challenge
Deloitte Insights video
Healthcare CIOs are challenged with meeting a variety of health IT challenges. How are they meeting the demands of consumers to access healthcare information and their organization’s needs for data? Findings indicate these officers are cautiously optimistic about successful implementation of their IT strategies.
Harry Greenspun, M.D., Senior Advisor, Deloitte Center for Health Solutions
Andrew Wiesenthal, M.D., S.M., Director, Deloitte Consulting LLP
Sean O’Grady (Sean): Hello and welcome to Insights where today we will be discussing the state of information technology in the health care industry. Joining the conversation here in New York is Dr. Harry Greenspun, senior advisor for health care transformation and technology within the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions and we also have Dr. Andy Wiesenthal, a director within Deloitte Consulting, LLP. Alright gentlemen, Andy, I would like to begin with you now. Your role gives you the opportunity to speak with folks across the industry. So, I am wondering exactly what are they saying… what are CIOs saying about their IT issues?
Andrew Wiesenthal (Andy): They have great many IT issues. Some of them are imposed on them by regulatory initiatives, some by financial initiatives, and some by the mere pressure of having to become more modern and to change how they support health care as health care is changing. So, they are confronting a broad waterfront of problems.
Sean: Now, it is not like there aren’t other things going on in the health care industry in the world at large. Of course, we have got economic issues globally and then on top of that health care just continues to meander throughout congress. So, I am wondering, Harry, in your view, why is this such a hot button issue right now for CIOs?
Harry Greenspun (Harry): Well, they have got a number of issues going on, as you mentioned. They have got the conversion to ICD-10. They have got to meet meaningful use requirements. They have got to work within communities to link up physicians to their organizations and share data around and there is a much greater use of data now in health care than it has been in ages.
Andy: I would agree with that and I think that in particular doctors want more information about the patients they are taking care of and they want different kinds of information than they have ever wanted before and CIOs are all taxed to provide that and provide those resources.
Harry: I think, at the same time, doctors and patients frankly are used to getting access to information in other aspects of their life. So, the bar has really has been raised in health care.
Andy: You will see people wanting to see things on their iPhones and other forms of mobile devices that they have recently gotten, that they expect to see all kinds of information. They see entertainment information, they see financial information, they see restaurant reservations, and they want their lab tests and they would like to be connected to their doctors and they do not see why there are not.
Harry: In our survey of physicians and consumers, we have found that there was a high demand of consumers to actually access this data, which the physicians are not providing them that information. So, they want to be able to access their medical records, they want to have personal health records, they want to be able to share information, if they have a chronic condition with their doctors, and they are really not able to in most places right now.
Sean: Now, I wanted to talk a little bit about that because when preparing for this segment I had the opportunity to look at your CIO survey of the health care industry and it revealed that CIOs are “cautiously optimistic” about their IT goals despite come challenges and so what are some of those challenges that you are seeing.
Andy: The challenges… Harry actually mentioned some of them. They have to get their organizations ready to change the entire fabric of how they do billing and financial transactions with ICD-10. That is a conversion from ICD-9, which most of the rest of the world has already done, but the United States is now doing and their due date is in October 2013. So, they are under a lot of pressure to achieve that. They also are under pressure to help their organizations obtain incentive money for implementing health information technology, particularly health records and they have to do that by meeting a whole range of criteria that are called meaningful use criteria that are now in regulation. So, if they want to get that money, they have got to meet the rules and they are under pressure to do that within the next 18 to 24 months as well.
Harry: Speaking of money, I mean, of course, these are difficult times for everybody and particularly for hospitals. The CIOs are working under very resource-constrained situations where their demands are going up and their budgets are going down. So, they are having a really tough time.
Andy: Finally, everybody is doing this all at the same time. So, there is a labor pool constraint. The people who are talented, who know how to do these things in health care are finite in number and the CIOs are all competing for them.
Sean: So, if there is a demand on time and there is shortage in the labor pool, where do we go from here? What is the path for a CIO?
Harry: Well, you know, CIOs need to balance it. One of the issues that we have seen is that and certainly from Andy’s work as well is that, you know, where you are depends on where you have been and some organizations are much farther ahead than others. They are focusing on data aggregation and clinical data warehouses where as other organizations are really early in this process and they are just trying to do basic EHR implementation and working on ICD-10 conversion. So, the return on investment that each of those can get is quite different depending on where they started.
Andy: But, in addition to that, the path forward is actually not a mystery. So, I think that gives them some comfort. They know where they need to go. The goals are reasonably clear for once. They also know how to get there because other organizations, as Harry mentioned, have done this. The way to achieve these goals is reasonably clear to them and finally the kinds of difficulties that they may have had in the past with physicians and other health care professionals being unsure as to whether or not they wanted to participate in digitizing all this information. Those difficulties are pretty well gone now. Everybody in health care recognizes that to be modern, to take good care and safe care of patients, this is something that has to be done.
Harry: I think also these difficulties represent an opportunity for CIOs in that in the community many physicians are struggling to do ICD-10, to do EHR implementation, and this is an opportunity for CIOs to engage in the community and many health systems are using this as an opportunity to do a physician alignment initiatives and to get tighter affiliations with the doctors in the community.
Sean: Last questions for the two of you, what would the disadvantage be if a health care provider chose to punt if they said, “well, we want to see what is going on. We want to just set this out.” What could potentially be bad?
Andy: They will be out of business. There is no sitting out anymore. Even if they are not interested in the incentive money, I don’t think there is really any institution , any practice, that in the next three to five years is not going to have digital records.
Harry: I think we have really reached the tipping point, and even though we have not had wide-spread adoption of electronic health records, we have enough organizations that are doing it and making this information available electronically, that the physicians and referring physicians and the patients realize it is actually much better way and a much safer way of doing things.
Sean: So, make the move or be left behind.
Sean: Gentlemen, thank you both very much for joining us.
Andy: Thank you.
Harry: Thank you.
Sean: You are welcome. Okay. We have been talking about the role of the CIO in the health care industry with Dr. Harry Greenspun, senior advisor for health care transformation and technology within the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions and Dr. Andy Wiesenthal, a director within Deloitte Consulting, LLP. If you like to learn more about Harry, Andy, or any of the survey items discussed on today’s broadcast, you can find that information on our website. It is deloitte.com/insightsus. For all the good folks here at insights, I am Sean O’Grady, we’ll see you next time.
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