NEW ORLEANS--()--Practicing clinicians have indicated strong support for the ability of health IT to overcome communication challenges among care providers. Considering that a series of Institute of Medicine reports on errors in healthcare have led to widespread recognition that siloed practices and inadequate communication are primary contributors to medical errors, continued endorsement for health IT will lead to better communication and enhanced quality of care.
“But it is clear from this study that there are key opportunities for improvements in workflow and communication between colleagues through use of health IT tools and informatics competencies.”
The results come from the 2013 iHIT study conducted by HIMSS and HIMSS Analytics, released during HIMSS13, the organization’s Annual Conference and leading healthcare IT event. Designed to explore the role of health IT from an inter-professional communication perspective, more than 500 clinician respondents working in a care delivery setting provided information on the value of health IT in support of quality care.
According to the study, the health IT tools in place at the provider organizations of respondents support various clinical processes and provide improved access to the information needed to prepare for delivery of care. This includes having improved access to information needed on patients transferring to a clinician’s unit/caseload, ultimately resulting in enhanced levels of patient care.
Highlights of the survey results include:
- General advantages of HIT: 70 percent of respondents were likely to note that health IT benefitted their overall ability to provide care efficiently, including the ability to have the information needed to understand their daily caseload.
- Workflow implications of HIT: There is a high level of agreement (83 percent) among survey respondents regarding the role that health IT can play relative to the support of clinical processes, including the ability to provide quality care.
- Magnet status: Responses from Magnet designated hospitals scored higher on the iHIT response scale, ranging between 4 and 8 points, than responses from non-Magnet designated facilities. Magnet is the American Nursing Credentialing Center’s national recognition program honoring healthcare organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice.
- Information provided by HIT: 80 percent of respondents were highly likely to indicate that the information provided through the health IT tools available at their organization helped clinicians process data and improved access to information needed to provide safe patient care.
- Pharmacy response: Pharmacists were far more likely than their physician or nurse counterparts to suggest that they found benefit from the use of health IT.
- Ability to independently make decisions: Respondents working in technologically complex organizations were most likely to agree with the statement that access to information electronically has improved their ability to independently make decisions than those working for facilities within a less complex IT environment.
“The use of health IT to support communication processes, data and information is a recent phenomenon,” said Joyce Sensmeier, MS, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, FAAN, Vice President, Informatics, HIMSS. “But it is clear from this study that there are key opportunities for improvements in workflow and communication between colleagues through use of health IT tools and informatics competencies.”
The iHIT scale, originally developed by HIMSS and HIMSS Analytics in 2006, is designed to measure the perception of practicing clinicians regarding the ways in which HIT influence interdisciplinary communication, workflow patterns and the degree of satisfaction of clinicians with HIT applications and tools. Findings from this study suggest that the iHIT and its four subscales are a promising measure of attitudes towards the impact of HIT on the role of clinician communication.
The full results of the 2013 iHIT Study are available at: www.himss.org/ihit
HIMSS is a cause-based, not-for-profit organization exclusively focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of information technology (IT) and management systems for the betterment of health and healthcare. Founded 52 years ago, HIMSS and its related organizations are headquartered in Chicago with additional offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. HIMSS represents more than 52,000 individual members, of which more than two thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations. HIMSS also includes over 600 corporate members and more than 225 not-for-profit partner organizations that share our mission of transforming healthcare through the best use of information technology and management systems. HIMSS frames and leads healthcare practices and public policy through its content expertise, professional development, research initiatives, and media vehicles designed to promote information and management systems' contributions to improving the quality, safety, access, and cost-effectiveness of patient care. To learn more about HIMSS and to find out how to join us and our members in advancing our cause, please visit our website at www.himss.org.
About HIMSS Analytics
HIMSS Analytics is a wholly owned not-for-profit subsidiary of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). The company collects and analyzes healthcare information related to IT processes and environments, products, IS department composition and costs, IS department management metrics, healthcare trends and purchase-related decisions. HIMSS Analytics delivers high quality products, services and analytical expertise to healthcare delivery organizations, healthcare IT companies, state governments, financial companies, pharmaceutical companies, and consulting firms. Visit www.himssanalytics.org for more information.