Most Wired shows hospitals have mixed success integrating data

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A snapshot of trends from the industry’s annual Most Wired survey shows wide adoption of technology, but a mixed bag in efforts to use it to improve care.

A preview of results of the 2018 survey were presented at the CHIME18 Fall CIO Forum in San Diego on Wednesday, indicating that providers would face challenges in integrating disparate technologies to facilitate care delivery.

Survey results indicate a wealth of electronic data now being collected in electronic health records systems and through digital technologies, but organizations now face the complex task of bringing the data together efficiently to assist clinicians in making care decisions.

CHIME executives say the Most Wired survey is being tweaked to measure “key areas that can help advance the industry,” while it continues to gather “information about organizations’ technology strategies, which include not just technology adoption but also the refinement of processes and the development of people.”

The Most Wired results show myriad challenges in improving the exchange of information between information systems, not only within hospitals, but also between ambulatory providers and post-acute care settings.

“As healthcare adopts and leverages new technologies, it is becoming increasingly complex to maintain an ecosystem in which data can be reliably shared,” the report notes. “Poor communication between disparate systems can be one of the greatest impediments to clinicians being able to access the information necessary to provide effective patient care.”

For example, clinicians at almost all responding organizations report they have full access to information in EHRs, and 97 percent have full access to images via picture archiving and communications systems. However, only about half of physicians can access these same resources via mobile applications when they are not at a facility, and adoption of secure messaging lags behind other remote-access functions.

Medical devices are increasingly digital, but information they gather is not uniformly integrated into EHRs, survey results indicated. For example, only 47 percent of respondents said their organization integrated ventilator data into their EHRs, while only 25 percent of IV pump data and 10 percent of in-bed scale data is included in electronic records. By contrast, at least three in four respondents said their organizations could include blood glucose, blood pressure, bedside pulse oximetry and EKG results in electronic records.

Hospital records systems also have mixed success in integrating data from other providers into records systems. While 85 percent of respondents said their organization’s system could incorporate data from an external hospital system, only 60 percent reported being able to include information garnered from home health agencies or skilled nursing facilities.

The Most Wired survey also looked at the security frameworks that hospitals are adopting and the comprehensiveness of their approaches.

“When it comes to adopting a security framework, organizations are shifting from self-developed security information frameworks to NIST and HITRUST,” the Most Wired report notes. “Other core components of a comprehensive security program include dedicating a senior security leader, having an adequate security budget, establishing governance and oversight committees and meeting regularly to report gaps in security and progress toward closing them.”

However, most providers still have piecemeal security strategies, the study indicates. “Only 29% of organizations report having a comprehensive security program in place,” the study found.

The report is available on the CHIME website.

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