The report’s theme can be boiled down to a simple phrase: Everything old is new again.
Survey respondents named the electronic health record (EHR) the biggest growth area for healthcare IT, albeit one that was still five to 10 years from reaching its full potential – in 1992. (That was so long ago that the EHR was called the “computer-based patient record.”)
“Clinician complaints about ease of use” represented the most frustrating problem for IT leaders – in 1994.
Concerns about lowering healthcare costs and proving better, more managed care motivated IT implementation – in 1995. (Back then it was called “computerization.”)
“Providing caregivers with remote access to patient records” presented a challenge to organizations looking to increase adoption of IT systems – in 1998.
IT represents a key variable here, Pettit says; physicians will see IT as either supporting their role or diminishing it. This, he adds, points to a larger need for healthcare organizations to be both high-tech, embracing the clinical and patient-facing systems than enhance care, and high-touch, emphasizing the value of patient-physician interaction in all its forms. IT will have to play a greater role in improving patient engagement, Pettit says, or at the very least stand alongside whoever leads those efforts.
In conjunction with the release of the report and its accompanying infographic – which appears below courtesy of HIMSS – Pettit wrote a blog post tracing his own healthcare journey, from a psych therapist with laudably legible handwritten notes to his current role at HIMSS Analytics. He wrote, he says, because he used to be “fairly dismissive of IT” but now knows better. He hopes his peers don’t feel the same way he once did.
“I would hope others who aren’t in IT but are in healthcare don’t go down the same path I did and [dismiss] IT or put it off to the side,” he says. “IT is a very strategic part of the organization.”
Brian Eastwood is a senior editor for CIO.com with more than 10 years of experience writing, editing and producing content for newspapers and the Web. He is primarily responsible for working with CIO.com's contributors and columnists, who cover topics such as cloud computing, big data, development and architecture, personal tech, the IT channel, business applications, BYOD, consumerization and business / project management. Brian's specific area of interest and expertise is healthcare IT. Prior to CIO.com, Brian was an editor at TechTarget and a newspaper reporter in the Boston suburbs. Outside the office, Brian is a history buff with a particular interest in postwar Europe and a runner who recently finished his 11th marathon.