Thirst for Clarity

June 24, 2011
As initiative upon initiative builds on top of the healthcare reform, CIOs must determine how to move forward strategically in an uncertain,

As initiative upon initiative builds on top of the healthcare reform, CIOs must determine how to move forward strategically in an uncertain, unstable environment. In addition, both the country and the industry are mired in deep recession, making access to capital a further challenge. In part one of our cover story, “A Steady Hand,” page 36, we detail the initiatives and provide the specifics around what exactly is being called for, by whom, and when. Our story examines how CIOs are mastering the art of the unknown, both in dealing with shifting, competing priorities and in managing their own upward trajectory within the organization itself. In part two, “Hunkering Down,” page 44, we talk with CIOs who have already begun to incorporate sweeping changes into their budgets, offering clarity for their CEO and CFO while simultaneously allowing the flexibility necessary to react to changing market conditions.

Many believe that adhering to evidence-based protocols will be part of the over-arching healthcare reform. But the subject raises many questions, starting with which CDS system to use. Some vendors sell these solutions as part of their core clinical offerings, but there are also many best-of-breed solutions that need to be interfaced with an EMR. Lastly, many hospitals have gone ahead and written their own home-grown rules. Read “Making the Right Decision,” page 14, to see if one method is superior to the other and what the downside of each is now that clinical decision support is part of the meaningful-use matrix.

While a select few healthcare organizations have achieved complete EMR adoption, many are still making the long (and often painful) transition to paperless systems. For some hospitals, this means dealing with manual registration and billing processes - and paper. While document management is no silver bullet, it can patch holes as hospitals transition to a paperless world. Read “Paper Trails,” page 23, to look at how some hospitals are turning to content management solutions to help ease the transition by incorporating paper documents into the patient record.

Healthcare Informatics 2009 October;26(10):10

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