Community Hospitals Say IT Will Help Their Bottom Line

Community hospitals believe that moving forward with IT will help them bounce back from some of their current financial setbacks, according to a recent survey.

Anthelio, a Dallas-based healthcare IT technology and consulting firm, conducted the survey along with Community Hospital 100, a conference for C-suite executives at community-based healthcare organizations. The survey, which was conducted between August and September 2013 among 123 community-based hospitals, found that these organizations were currently experiencing significant financial challenges as a result of cuts to Medicare/Medicaid, decreased operating margins, readmission penalties and compliance issues related to the Affordable Care Act.

To combat these challenges, however, the community hospitals indicated they were moving forward with various IT projects. For example, 40% of respondents said they have completed an EHR implementation and are fully operational with the system, while almost all the rest responded that they have acquired and partially implemented such technology.

Additionally, 71% of community hospital executives responding to the survey said their organization was in the process of implementing transitions to ICD-10, while 27% said they were planning to transition but have not yet started. Thirty-nine percent of respondents have spent or anticipate spending less than $100,000 on their ICD-10 transition, while 40% said they will spend $100,000 to $499,000, 13% will spend $500,000 to $999,000 and 9% will spend more than $1 million.

Other initiatives that the surveyed community hospitals identified as projects they were working on to help improve their operational efficiencies include consolidation with other facilities (74%), ACO participation (30%), improving patient safety (10%), improving patient satisfaction (10%), improving performance on core measures (8%) and reducing hospital acquired infections (6%).

The survey was based on the results of an email questionnaire sent to community-based hospitals with up to 500 acute beds. The survey was released Oct. 21 at the 2013 Community Hospital 100 Conference in Greensboro, Ga. A copy of the full survey results is available at www.antheliohealth.com.