A recent survey of CHIME CIOs reveals a continued disconnect between the availability of EHR data and its ability to influence both revenue and operating margins in hospitals. The survey, conducted by CHIME and LeanTaaS, asked hospital CIOs five questions about their perceptions with regard to EHR data and attempts to increase both operating margins and revenue at their institutions.
Respondents cited improving clinical outcomes as the most effective use of EHR data (24%) over increasing operational efficiencies (10%). Despite a strong push toward value-based care, only 2% of respondents felt EHR data was most effective at reducing unnecessary admissions, while 6% perceive EHR data as being most effective at lowering readmissions. This disparity perhaps reveals the uneven state of EHR deployments today; those that deployed early have begun to appreciate the potential use of EHR data at a more macro level, while those still wrestling with their implementations remain focused on the more obvious and immediately benefits of the technology.
Interestingly, though, operational efficiencies are not far from top-of-CIO-mind when it comes to improving both operational margins and revenue. In fact, reducing labor costs (35%) and increasing OR and ER efficiency (27%) topped the list of initiatives that best improve operating margins, while optimizing equipment utilization (52%) and ORs (40%) were cited as most effective in increasing revenue. In addition, 45% of respondents said the ORs were the department most likely to improve operating margins.
Over half (54%) of survey participants said budgetary limitations were the top constraint in launching new initiatives. That’s not surprising in light of providers being asked to do more with less, but more concerning is that 33% of respondents cited the lack of support resources as their biggest obstacle.
Overall, the survey confirms the suspicions of many: Healthcare providers are moving slowly to incorporate data science into their approaches to all but the most obvious use cases. True, the complexity, effort, and expense of EHR implementation are to blame for a lot of the caution, but looking beyond improving clinical outcomes should accelerate – not slow – the use of EHR data for other purposes. Using this data to improve operational efficiencies while continuing to refine its use for improving clinical outcomes serves both ends: More efficient use of assets increases operating margins and revenue for hospitals AND contributes to better clinical outcomes for patients.
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is the professional organization for Chief Information Officers and other senior healthcare IT leaders. CHIME enables its members and business partners to collaborate, exchange ideas, develop professionally and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and healthcare in the communities they serve.