Survey shows IHE compliance reduces costs

DALLAS - The results of a survey conducted by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) on the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) initiative demonstrate that IHE compliance saves time and money for both users and vendors.

The report, 2005 HIMSS Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise Survey, was released at the society's annual conference on Monday. The respondents included 36 individuals who have installed software with IHE capabilities at their organizations, 27 representatives of IT vendors, and 100 representatives of provider organizations or vendors that do not use or manufacture IHE-capable products. The Web-based survey was conducted in November 2004.

The survey reported that most respondents (63%) have had a system with IHE capabilities installed at their organization for only one to two years. Just 7% of the respondents have had the systems for five years or more. Half of the respondents indicated that they have installed software with IHE capabilities at five or fewer settings.

Respondents who use IHE-capable software were asked to assess if the processes enabled by the IHE technical framework save time and money compared with completing tasks manually. On a scale of 1 - 7 (with 7 representing considerable savings and 1, no savings), respondents reported that time and money were saved in: standardized interoperability across vendor systems (4.75); establishment of a set of clinical requirements vetted by clinicians to identify needs (4.36); and the capability to address problems such as software issues before installation.

"The survey found that not only do providers and vendors who use or manufacture systems with IHE capabilities find value and benefit from using these solutions, but also that those who don't use IHE-capable systems are slowly moving toward demanding IHE solutions from their IT vendors," said Joyce Sensmeier, HIMSS director of professional services.

Among respondents who had a system with IHE capabilities, radiology is the domain most frequently implemented (83%), followed by IT infrastructure (63%), laboratory (33%), and cardiology (13%). In facilities that have implemented IHE, 40% are IHE-compliant in one domain, 30% in two domains, 27% in three domains, and 3% have implemented software with IHE capabilities in all four domain areas.

Given radiology's extensive IHE compliance, the discipline recognized most of the benefits of IHE use. These include a reduction in the number of lost images and reports (65%), improved physician satisfaction with respect to being able to access reports anytime and at any location (65%), and a reduction in film costs (60%).

Challenges that users face in the implementation process include installation of a new work process at their organization, cited by 77% of respondents; variability in vendor support (71%); and the cost of required systems upgrades, which was acknowledged by 65% of respondents.

On the vendor front, the survey reported that individuals who work in organizations that manufacture a system with IHE capabilities said the benefit they are most likely to achieve from such a system is a reduction in deployment costs, which was recognized by 55% of both vendor and client respondents.

Although HIMSS and the RSNA have been advocating the inclusion of IHE compliance as a requirement when issuing a request for proposal (RFP), 25% of the survey respondents working at vendor organizations that have IHE-capable products indicated that none of their clients reference IHE in their RFPs, and 33% indicate that only a handful of clients reference IHE in their RFPs.

Ignorance of the initiative is not an excuse for lack of compliance adoption, according to the survey. Among those healthcare and vendor organizations that are not either using or manufacturing products that are IHE-capable, there is a high level of industry awareness; 90% of that group of respondents reported that they were aware of IHE.

Despite the reported benefits, however, users agreed by a slim margin that the benefits of implementing systems with IHE capabilities are outweighed by the costs associated with the implementation itself. The survey authors believe that as additional vendors develop and deliver IHE-capable products, such as pharmacy, the benefits will become more substantial.

By Jonathan S. Batchelor staff writer
February 16, 2005

Related Reading

IHE assists regional health architecture, February 15, 2005

HIPAA security: IHE guidelines help ensure compliance, November 26, 2004

IHE's IT infrastructure starts comment period, June 18, 2004

IHE cardiology technical framework open for comment, June 17, 2004

IHE to test portable data integration profile, June 8, 2004

Copyright © 2005

Page 1 of 603
Next Page