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Compliance Issues Top 2012 Healthcare IT Agenda

What could be worse for IT departments than grappling with the issues related to Y2K? Ask a U.S. healthcare provider within the context of its top IT priorities for 2012 and the response may be government-mandated compliance.

"These mandates have been looming for awhile, such as the move from ICD-9 to ICD-10 for diagnosis and procedure coding, which has been delayed repeatedly," says Marianne McGee, senior writer, InformationWeek Healthcare. "It’s a very intensive program requiring an evaluation of all your systems and anything that relates to patient care."

McGee, the author of a 50-page report, the Healthcare IT 2012 Priorities Survey, has documented the challenges facing hospitals and healthcare organizations associated with reform via the HITECH Act. The focus is on managing digital patient data, meeting regulatory requirements, reducing costs and improving quality of care with respect to the top IT priorities of healthcare organizations in 2012.

"Increasingly, healthcare providers will be paid for the overall care of a patient," she says. "The key though [for healthcare providers] is they’ve got to get these electronic health records (EHR) in. You’re not going meet meaningful use requirements from the government unless you do."

Meaningful use-related work is a top priority among participants of the survey. To that end, 61% stated they’ve implemented a comprehensive system from a single vendor in order to comply with EHR requirements.

The report also notes that healthcare providers are hot for mobile computing but are less concerned with security. If there was ever a recipe for catastrophe, this could be it, says McGee. "You’d think there’d be more concern about that and possible security or privacy breaches since the HITECH Act raised the penalties and scrutiny hospitals and doctors would be under if there was a breach," she says.

To that end, the top reason doctors use mobile computing devices is to access patient data, with 82% of respondents stating as much.

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