According to a new study released today by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and sponsored by the Information Solutions division of McKesson Corporation, nurses are cited more often than any other constituency (95 percent) as a participant on patient safety committees. Conversely, information technology (IT) representatives are less likely to participate, despite the fact that nearly all survey respondents stated that technology can address at least one patient safety issue, with medication errors cited by 93 percent. Access to funding is the greatest challenge to deploying patient safety technology, cited by 79 percent of respondents. Physician resistance to new solutions is a distant second, noted by 45 percent.
“Healthcare organizations are making progress to formalize their patient safety efforts, and they recognize the value of solutions like bar coding and computerized physician order entry,” said Patricia Wise, HIMSS director, Electronic Health Record (EHR) initiative. “However, adequate funding continues to be an issue, and IT leaders are not yet consistently participating on patient safety committees. This clearly demonstrates the need to better communicate the value of IT and its ability to systematically enhance safety, from planning all the way through deployment, monitoring and reporting.”
The 2003 HIMSS Patient Safety Survey represents the opinions of 247 senior executives and managers in healthcare organizations across the country. Barry Chaiken, M.D., McKesson vice president of medical affairs, will present key findings in an educational session at The Quality Colloquium at Harvard University being held this week in Boston.
In addition to identifying the top technologies with the potential to reduce errors, the HIMSS survey revealed that:
- Budgetary influence on healthcare IT: Organizations with revenues of more than $200 million are twice as likely to suggest that variability of care can be addressed by technology.
- Measurement of IT impact By far, organizations measure the impact of technology by a decrease in medication errors (93 percent).
Additional findings from 2003 HIMSS Patient Safety Survey are posted on both the HIMSS and McKesson Web sites.
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