Electronic health records
Hospital IT budgets growing, despite
TORONTO - Although
the eHealth scandals of 2009 wreaked political havoc on provincial
governments across the country, the majority of hospital IT budgets have
increased this year over last and the trend is expected to continue in
As part of a survey dealing mainly with interoperability and
connectivity, Canadian Healthcare Technology recently asked 300 CIOs and
IT directors across the country about their IT budgets, and whether the
eHealth embarrassments of the last year have taken a toll on IT projects
at their hospitals. Fifty-two CIOs and IT directors responded and
completed the survey. Many of them are responsible for multiple
hospitals and whole health regions.
According to the respondents, average spending on IT in 2009-2010
reached 3.02 percent of hospital operating budgets. Hospital IT spending
is expected to rise to 3.17 percent in 2010-2011 (the current year), and
to 3.23 percent of operating budgets in 2011-2012.
Still, about a quarter of Canada’s hospitals have seen their information
technology budgets reduced as a result of the eHealth scandals that
erupted last year. Of them, 15% said it will take two to three years for
their budgets to recover, while another 8.5% said it will take three
years or more.
On the whole, however, it appears that hospital executives and boards
have been convinced of the importance of further investments and are
determined to carry on with modernization. At the same time, many
lessons have been learned in the past few years about IT project
management in the healthcare sector, lessons that, with any luck, should
lead to better outcomes.
Hospital executives apparently have more confidence in themselves than
their governments to create eHealth systems. Asked if they thought their
provincial governments had an ability to create an effective eHealth
strategy, 42 percent of the respondents said not at all; 52 percent said
their governments had ‘a moderate ability’; and only 6 percent checked
off the ‘excellent ability’ category. So much for confidence in the
government designers of a modern healthcare system.
Canadian Healthcare Technology’s study, titled “The Communication Gap:
Problems and Plans for Interoperable Systems in Canadian Hospitals,”
covers the following topics:
• the state of clinical interoperability within hospitals and with
outside hospital organizations;
• clinical interoperability among hospitals, long-term care centres and
• barriers to interoperability and connectivity;
• usage of various standards in hospitals;
• wireless use in hospitals today and plans for the near future;
• views of CIOs and IT directors on whether provincial eHealth programs
are useful - or not;
• IT investment plans.
The full report, with tables and analysis, will be published by Canadian
Healthcare Technology this fall.
Posted August 26, 2010