The looming federal patient privacy regulations and approaching compliance deadlines have become the number one IT priority among healthcare providers, according to preliminary results of a survey released Monday at the HIMSS conference.Analysis of
The looming federal patient privacy regulations and approaching compliance deadlines have become the number one IT priority among healthcare providers, according to preliminary results of a survey released Monday at the HIMSS conference.
Analysis of preliminary survey results showed that 61% of this years respondents felt upgrading security on IT systems to meet requirements of The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) to be the highest IT priority in the coming year, up from 55%. Likewise, 54% believe HIPAA to be the top priority next year as well, up from 51% last year.
Results also showed the following breakdown of IT concerns:
Business issues facing healthcare in the next two years followed a similar pattern:
The gravity of HIPAA is clearly evident in this years survey, which reflects both a knowledge of the requirements and steps taken toward compliance. Nearly one-third of respondents believe they are highly knowledgeable about HIPAA requirements, while 67% say they are somewhat knowledgeable.
The percentage of participants indicating their facility has already installed security technologies rose to 54% from 43% last year. Another 53% say their organizations have assessed organizational compliance (compared with 37% in 2000), 47% have documented security policies and procedures (39% in 2000), 34% have hired a security officer (27%), and 32% have implemented security policies and procedures (26%).
Surprisingly, 14% report that their organizations have not yet begun preparing to meet HIPAA regulations, an improvement over last years 24%.
Vendors top business issues closely follow those concerns cited by providers. Vendors responding felt HIPAA compliance to be their number one priority (81%), followed by cost pressures (57%), reducing medical errors (47%), improving operational efficiency (44%), and satisfying customers (40%).
This was the second year that online participation in the survey, sponsored by Superior Consultant and Dell Computer, was opened prior to the annual HIMSS conference. Preconference respondents (470 providers and 205 vendors) were primarily HIMSS members, representing a cross section of senior healthcare executives, IT managers, operations and financial managers, other provider organization professionals, and vendors.
The final results will be available on the HIMSS Web site in early March.