Hospital execs ready and willing to make health IT a bigger priority


Health IT innovations have been rolling out fast and furious as technology continues to improve. While new tools are there for the taking, many hospitals have a much slower approach to adopting them. This is causing frustration for many healthcare executives who want to be able to deliver for their patients, as well as the doctors and nurses at their facilities. In fact, Arlyn Broekhuis, vice president and CIO of Sanford Health in Fargo, N.D., and Sioux Falls, S.D., told Becker's Hospital Review what the biggest pain in the neck is when it comes to tech adoption.

"Healthcare IT has been in the catch-up mode after years of underinvesting," she said. "It is frustrating when we can't do everything our users are requesting. There are limited resources and we have to prioritize."

Healthcare executives need more time, resources
While the idea of health IT is certainly appealing, the problem that hospital leaders continue to encounter is that they don't have to time to truly look into what investments they should be making. For example, if they were able to experiment with a healthcare inventory management system that physicians could operate with their smartphones and tablets with the simple scan of a barcode, executives would undoubtedly see the benefits.

When are hospital higher-ups going to find the time for this and gather the resources to make the investment in the solution? This is a major issue for Marc Chasin, system vice president and CIO of St. Luke's Health System in Boise, Idaho. He told Becker's that it's not as simple as finding something employees may like and implementing the technology.

"If I do get frustrated about anything [it's] that there are so many good projects that we could be investigating but there is only so much time and resources available," Chasin said. "We have to scrutinize each and every project from a strategic alignment perspective as well as a cost/benefit perspective."

Technology is vital to streamlining patient care
Broekhuis and Chasin are not alone in experiencing heath IT shortcomings at their hospitals. Several other healthcare executives voiced their displeasure to Becker's. However, if hospitals want to be able to deliver the best possible patient care and ensure that staff members are happy in their roles, they will need to take the time to research and invest in health IT innovations. 

One trend that will require extra attention in the upcoming year is business intelligence. Neal Ganguly, vice president and CIO at JFK Health System in Edison, N.J., told FierceHealthIT that even though BI deployments come with high costs and difficulty during the implementation process, they are vital to improve the future of healthcare. 

Donna Staton, CIO at Fauquier Health System in Warrenton, Va., agrees. She went as far as saying that the technologies will be "differentiators" when it comes to getting patients to return to the hospital for future health issues, as well as improving overall care. For healthcare executives, having the data resources at their fingertips will allow them to make the necessary changes to accommodate their employees and patients.