25 years of health IT: 30 findings on changing perspectives

Since 1990, HIMSS has conducted its annual health IT leadership survey, identifying issues and gauging advancements in the field. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the study, and the data collected over the past two and a half decades illustrates both the growth of the health IT sector as well as trends that have remained constant.

Here are 30 key findings and statistics on health IT from the past 25 years.

1990-1994: The foundations of health IT

  • In 1990, more than 60 percent of respondents said bedside systems would experience the greatest IT growth over the next two years.
  • In 1991, approximately 75 percent of survey respondents said computer systems helped increase their organization's financial health.
  • However, just 22 percent of physicians said they were "open-minded" about using new computer technology.
  • Also in 1991, 77 percent of respondents said an online medical record "had the greatest potential to improve hospital services in the future."
  • In 1992, computer-based records were perceived to still be five to 10 years away from being successfully implemented in healthcare organizations.
  • In 1993, the majority of respondents, approximately 80 percent, said the managed competition formula, supported by President Bill Clinton, would accelerate the development and advancement of health IT solutions.
  • The top three priorities for IT leaders in 1993 were integrating existing applications, increasing clinician's use of computers and implementing computer patient records systems.
  • Approximately one-half of respondents in 1993 said they would not use computers more often until they became easier to use.
  • In 1994, nearly one-quarter of survey respondents said their most frustrating IT problem was "clinician complaints about ease of use."
  • Still, 39 percent of respondents predicted a nationwide system allowing computerized patient information to be shared would be in place by 2000.

1995-1999: Health IT focuses on the wireless

  • HIPAA was enacted in 1996, and by 1999, 75 percent of respondents said they had taken steps to comply with HIPAA security.
  • The Y2K computer bug caused concern for many IT professionals. In 1999, 44 percent of respondents said Y2K was a top IT priority.
  • In 1998, respondents said "deriving more value from existing data" was a primary driver of increasing computerization in healthcare.
  • The top three IT priorities in 1998 according to respondents were hiring quality IT staff, integrating systems in a multi-vendor environment and implementing a computerized patient record. At this point, only 2 percent of respondents said they had implemented a fully operational computerized patient record.
  • By 1999, 11 percent of respondents were operating a fully operational computerized patient record.
  • Most healthcare organizations had adopted telehealth applications by 1999.

2000-2004: The growth of computerized records

  • From 2000-2003, 70 percent of respondents said HIPAA was the top business issue facing healthcare for the next two years. Other main priorities included deploying Internet technology and upgrading inpatient clinical systems.
  • In 2000, 12 percent of respondents said they had a fully operational computerized patient record system in place, and by 2003, 19 percent of respondents indicated they had one.
  • In 2004, computerized patient records became known as EMRs.

2005-2009: Managing the recession

  • EMR adoption quickly grew during this time period. In 2005, 18 percent of respondents said they had a fully operational EMR. By 2008, more than 40 percent said they had one.
  • From 2006 to 2008, respondents said Medicare cuts, improving patient satisfaction and improving patient were the top three issues facing healthcare.
  • Financial considerations became the focal point of respondents' priorities in 2009, such as demand for capital and finding new revenue sources.
  • In 2007, more clinically focused applications held the focus of respondents, such as computerized physician order entry systems.

2010-2014: A focus on meaningful use

  • Forty percent of respondents indicated the primary IT focus in 2010 was meeting meaningful use criteria, making it the most frequently chosen response.
  • Also in 2010, more than one-third of respondents said government issues like meaningful use and ICD-10 would have the most impact on healthcare over the next two years.
  • In 2010, nearly half of respondents said they would be able to meet all meaningful use requirements by fiscal year 2011, and 32 percent said they would be eligible by FY 2012.
  • Thirty-seven percent of respondents indicated a lack of adequate staffing resources as the biggest barrier to achieving measurable outcomes in 2010.
  • By 2014, 90 percent of respondents reported attesting to meaningful use stage one.
  • As more organizations attested to meaningful use stage one, the focus then shifted to readying for stage two. In 2013, 75 percent of respondents said they would be eligible for stage two incentives in 2014.
  • In 2014, 71 percent of respondents said they would attest for meaningful use stage 2 by the end of the year, and 19 percent said they would attest in 2015.

 

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