Doctor explaining healthcare issue to patient and spouse 1500 x 876 px
Photo credit:: Wikipedia

Every year, HIMSS invites the press to a full-on breakfast to learn about the results of the HIMSS Leadership Survey. No surprise, this year, patient engagement is top of mind for the 330 Health IT professionals who responded to the survey.


Business issues

Seventy-two percent of respondents to the survey indicated patient engagement, satisfaction, and quality of care will most impact care delivery by their organization over the next two years. Almost equally important are concerns related to privacy and security, changing payment and insurance models, as well as policy mandates. The ability to share patient information, financial considerations, and a shifting healthcare landscape also had more than two-thirds of respondents indicating that these issues were highly important to them. The most important take away from the answers to this survey question is that there are many big issues demanding the attention of health IT leaders.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the survey also showed that these leaders top three business objectives of these leaders all tie back to those concerns with 87% saying improving satisfaction and improving patient care and quality of care are top business objectives with sustaining financial viability coming in at 85%.

IT Strategies for Engaging PatientsWhen asked about IT strategies for engaging patients, 87% of respondents said they would provide a patient portal (groan!), 82% said they would use the organizational website (double groan), and 57% said they would leverage social media. A bit more than half thought IT could help with patient experience management, post-acute care management, and patient retention or acquisition.

Interestingly, when respondents were asked about the impact of IT on Triple Aim goals, only 68% said health IT would improve patient health experience, 53% said it would reduce cost of healthcare, and 51% that it would improve population health.


Is there organizational support for health IT

IT and the Executive TeamIn response to a question about board support for health IT, 72% said their board did support it. Seventy-nine percent said the Executive team supports it. So, it should be no surprise that 62% said there was an increase in their IT operating budget (but only 49% said there was an increase in organizational staffing). Perhaps organizational support would have been perceived as greater if the Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) and/or Chief Nursing Information Officer (CNIO) were part of the Executive Team.


How do clinicians feel about health IT?

IT and the Medical StaffBut here is the negative. Only 51% of respondents said IT effectively engages physician leaders and only 39% said the CMIO is part of the executive time. Only 57% of said IT effectively engages nursing leaders and only 45% said nurses believe IT is critical to their success. Twenty-nine percent said Medical Staff (the rank and file docs) and 38% said nurses have a favorable attitude towards IT.

So we have come a long way baby, but we still have a long ways to go on the health IT journey.


  1. I am surprised that with the almost non-existent participation rate that currently exists with patient portals, that 87% of organizations would look to this approach? This is evidence that these portals/websites are the low hanging fruit in patient engagement. If you want to engage a patient, you call them on the phone, and ask how they are doing. If you can’t make the volume of calls needed, you automate the process with someone like BON HealthWatch.


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