HIMSS 2013 iHIT Study - Executive Summary

Health information technology (HIT) has the ability to provide enhanced access to the clinical information needed to support patient care.  Since the iHIT Study was last released in 2006, organizations have become increasingly sophisticated in technological solutions in place at their organization.  According to the HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM)SM, at the end of 2006, less than one-quarter of U.S. hospitals (22 percent) had achieved EMRAM Stage 3 or higher on the EMRAM model; by the end of 2012, more than three-quarters of U.S. hospitals (77 percent) had achieved a minimum of EMRAM Stage 3.[1]  EMRAM Stage 3 represents an important threshold because it represents the minimum level at which organizations begin to use key nursing applications such as clinical documentation and clinical decision support with error checking. 

Greater levels of implementation of key clinical applications provide the opportunity for clinicians to have improved access to the information they need at the patient’s bedside in order to provide quality care.  A recent study found that physician adoption of a computerized provider order entry (CPOE) system that generates a checklist of best practices for preventing blood clots effectively reduced preventable events in trauma patients.[2]   

Research conducted during the 10 year period of 1995-2005 has demonstrated that ineffective team communication is the root cause for nearly 66 percent of all medical errors.[3] When healthcare team members do not communicate effectively, patient care often suffers.[4]

In order to better assess the impact of HIT on communication, HIMSS & HIMSS Analytics replicated the 2006 iHIT Nursing Study. The 2013 iHIT Study explores the ability of HIT to provide enhanced access to clinical information needed to support patient care from an interdisciplinaryperspective of nurses, pharmacists and physicians.

Based on the responses of 507 individuals from the 2013 iHIT Study, the HIT tools in place at their organizations support various clinical processes and provide improved access to the information needed to prepare for delivery of care.  This includes having improved access to information needed on patients transferring to a clinician’s unit/caseload, ultimately resulting in enhanced levels of patient care. 

Key survey findings include:

General advantages of HIT: 70 percent of respondents were likely to note that HIT benefitted their overall ability to provide care efficiently, including the ability to have the information needed to understand their daily caseload. 

Workflow implications of HIT: There is a high level of agreement (83 percent) among survey respondents regarding the role that HIT can play relative to the support of clinical processes, including the ability to provide quality care.

Magnet status: Responses from Magnet designated hospitals scored higher on the iHIT response scale, ranging between 4 and 8 points, than responses from non-Magnet designated facilities. Magnet recognizes healthcare organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice.[5]

Information provided by HIT:  80 percent of respondents were highly likely to indicate that the information provided through the HIT tools available at their organization helped clinicians process data and improved access to information needed to provide safe patient care.

Pharmacy response: Pharmacists were far more likely than their physician or nurse counterparts to suggest that they found benefit from the use of HIT. 

Ability to independently make decisions: Respondents working in technologically complex organizations were most likely to agree with the statement that access to information electronically has improved their ability to independently make decisions than those working for facilities with a less complex IT environment.

Key opportunities for clinical informatics:

Workflow & end of shift reporting: Less than one-third of respondents indicated that HIT applications have decreased the amount of time they need for preparing end of shift reports. 

Assurance between colleagues:Only half of respondents indicated that the acknowledgement features of the HIT tools at their organization provide adequate assurance that interdisciplinary colleagues are receiving appropriate communications. 

Full results: The results of the survey are available for your use at: www.himss.org/ihit

For more information, contact:

Joyce Lofstrom

Director, Corporate Communications HIMSS

33 West Monroe Street, Suite 1700 Chicago, IL  60603



[3] Team strategies and tools to enhance performance and patient safety (TeamSTEPPS), Department of Defense and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/teamstepps/

[4] ibid


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