Hospital Use of IT Continues to Increase

The American Hospital Assoc. has released a survey showing that hospitals across the country are embracing health information technology (IT) and its ability to enhance quality care and patient safety.

The survey examines how hospitals are using IT, and notes that nearly half of all responding hospitals reported moderate or high use in 2006, compared to 37{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} in 2005. Hospitals also reported dramatic increases in the use of computerized alerts to prevent negative drug interactions. In 2006, 51{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of hospitals were using real-time drug interaction alerts, up from 23{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} in 2005.

Among other key findings, larger hospitals tend to use IT more often than smaller institutions; 69{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of hospitals have either fully or partially implemented electronic health records (EHRs); more hospitals are using computerized physician order entry, especially those with fully implemented EHRs; and spending on health IT systems is on the rise, showing a 4.5{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} increase over 2005.

The survey identifies the costs of deploying and maintaining IT systems as the greatest barrier to IT use.