An industry survey has revealed significant ambivalence among hospital leaders about their ability to meet newly issued requirements for Stage 2 of meaningful use.

The poll, conducted by I.T. consulting firm KPMG, shows that nearly half (47 percent) of hospital and health system business leaders are only “somewhat confident” in their level of readiness to meet the requirements, which became final in July. Thirty-six percent said they were confident and just 4 percent said they were not confident at all. Eleven percent said they didn’t know what their level of readiness was.

Asked to identify the biggest challenge in complying with the standard, 29 percent cited training and change management. This was followed by lack of monitoring processes to help ensure sustained demonstration of meaningful use, and capturing the relevant data electronically as part of clinical workflow (19 percent each); lack of a dedicated meaningful use team (12 percent); and vendor availability that has appropriate certified technology (6 percent).

“Attesting to meaningful use standards is an evolving process,” said Mike Beaty, principal and KPMG Healthcare IT enablement leader. “It’s key for organizations to have the right clinical workflows, care delivery processes and the right support structures in place not just to meet the standards but also to ensure a sustainable transformation of these critical systems.”

Leaders also said their organizations are being challenged to meet standards on privacy and security of patient information as prescribed by both meaningful use Stage 2 and HIPAA. Close to half (47 percent) of respondents said they were only somewhat comfortable with their organization’s ability to comply with all parts of HIPAA, including new annual risk assessments and protecting data such as patient identifiable information. An additional 8 percent said they were not comfortable at all and 13 percent said they were not sure. Thirty one percent said they were comfortable.

“Stage 2 specifically requires that the transmission and exchange of patient data or information across the enterprise be very solid and secure,” said Jerry Howell, principal with KPMG Healthcare.  “Stage 2 meaningful use compliance will require an expanded focus on secure transmission of data within, and outside the enterprise.”

The survey responses come from more than 140 hospital and health system administrators who participated in an online poll.


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