HIMSS Analytics: EHR governance efforts lack doc engagement

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A lack of physician engagement is one of the biggest challenges for electronic health record governance efforts, according to a HIMSS Analytics study published this week.

The study, for which 238 individuals working at healthcare organizations were surveyed, found that 60 percent of respondents have a "formalized EHR governance structure" set up at their facilities. HIMSS Analytics Research Director Brendan FitzGerald, in a statement, said that such structures have the potential to affect incentive program rewards.

"How organizations make decisions around enhancements to EHRs, including implementation, can dramatically impact their ability to meet regulatory measures and create workflow efficiencies," he said.

Talking with FierceEMR, FitzGerald said he was surprised that doctors weren't more involved in the creation and maintenance of such structures.

"You would think that physicians would be higher on the list of those who were participating but that's not the case," he said. "That really stunned us the most."

Twenty-one percent of respondents said they did not have an EHR governance structure in place, while 19 percent weren't sure. Close to 50 percent of the survey's respondents (47.5 percent) represented their organization's C-suite (CEO, CIO, etc.), according to the report. More than 21 percent were directors within their organization, while slightly less than 10 percent (9.7 percent) were administrators. Another 9.2 percent were vice presidents, while five percent were managers.

Physicians only made up two percent of the respondents.

For the 60 percent of respondents who said they have an EHR governance structure in place, 63 percent said their structure was developed in a cross-functional manner, meaning voices from many different healthcare disciplines are heard. FitzGerald said that nurse and IT personnel participation was high on such governance structures.

Still, he said, a lot of uncertainty remains for those organizations that do not have EHR governance structures in place.

"In this day in age, when adoption of technology, specifically in the healthcare setting, is critical, there's still some uncertainty around how changes get made to make those systems more efficient, more adaptable to workflow and the end user," FitzGerald said. "That was surprising to us, as well."

To learn more:
- here's a study overview (.pdf)
- check out the accompanying announcement

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