IOM Report: Today’s IT Systems and Implementation Efforts Aren’t Good Enough to Support IOM’s Quality Standards
A new report published today by the IOM’s research council concludes that today’s hospital systems "fall far short … of what is needed to support the IOM’s vision of quality health care."
In its summary, the report says, "IT related activities of health professionals observed by the committee in these institutions were rarely integrated into clinical practice. Health care IT was rarely used to provide clinicians with evidence-based decision support and feedback; to support data-driven process improvement; or to link clinical care and research. Health care IT rarely provided an integrative view of patient data. Care providers spent a great deal of time electronically documenting what they did for patients, but these providers often said they were entering the information to comply with regulations or to defend against lawsuits, rather than because they expected someone to use it to improve clinical care. Health care IT implementation time lines were often measured in decades, and most systems were poorly or incompletely integrated into practice. Although the use of health care IT is an integral element of health care in the 21st century, the current focus of the health care IT efforts that the committee observer is not sufficient to drive the kind of change in health care that is truly needed. The nation faces a health care IT chasm that is analogous to the quality chasm highlighted by the IOM over the past decade."
Free access to the full text of the report is available here.
Bill Stead of Vanderbilt chaired the group, which conducted site visits at UPMC; the VA Medical Center in Washington, DC; HCA TriStar; Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Partners HealthCare; Intermountain Healthcare; UCSF; and Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
Given that the facilities observed have what is considered comparatively advanced IT systems and massive budgets compared to the average hospital, the report is sure to have far-ranging implications to the industry, especially as debate continues over whether the best use of federal stimulus money is to fund purchase current systems instead of revisiting whether they are adequate to deliver the changes needed in healthcare.