Harsh economics dampens appetite for healthcare IT

April 8, 2009

Agfa updates TalkStationViztek tightens link between PACS, EMR

Harsh economics dampens appetite for healthcare IT

The weakened U.S. economy is slowing the pace of growth in healthcare IT, according to a survey conducted by HIMSS. Only a little more than half (55%) of the 304 respondents participating in the 20th annual HIMSS Leadership Survey said their IT budgets would increase, compared with 78% last year. This year, about 42% said their staffing levels would increase, down from 68% last year.

Survey respondents noted, however, that their organizations remain committed to healthcare IT. Implementing EMR systems is at the top of to-do lists of IT professionals. About 31% said the primary focus would be ensuring their organization has a full electronic medical record. Another 17% indicated that their primary focus would be to install computerized provider order entry.

HIMSS noted that many respondents completed the survey prior to the Feb. 17 signing of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), which is designed to encourage the adoption of healthcare IT by providing financial incentives to use health information exchanges.

Agfa updates TalkStation

Agfa HealthCare showcased TalkStation 4.0 at HIMSS 2009. This latest version of Agfa's integrated speech recognition product, designed specifically for radiology, includes features that improve physician efficiency, enhance speech recognition, and provide tighter integration with the company's Impax PACS. Among the several new capabilities are customized activity work lists, attending physician rejection of reports, and "read-out" workflow for joint report approval by resident and attending physician. A "My Activities" toolbar helps radiologists find preliminary and corrected reports. Color coding draws attention to areas of the report at increased risk for inaccuracy.

Viztek tightens link between PACS, EMR

Viztek has debuted URL-based integration to EMR systems for its Opal-RAD PACS. The new features enable access to PACS information directly through EMR work lists. Once users open a patient file, a single click automatically launches the Viztek viewer and displays the desired exam. Viztek is framing the new functionality as being particularly beneficial for specialty clinics, which the company expects will be increasingly focused on EMR functionality under the new government administration.