Hospital execs fail to measure return on IT investments

Survey reveals need for more thoughtful ROI analysis.

Hospitals do not adequately consider return on investment when measuring the success of electronic medical record systems, hospital executives said in a recent survey.

Executives surveyed by Beacon Partners, a health-care management consulting firm based in Weymouth, Mass., expressed dissatisfaction with hospitals’ efforts to measure the return on investment of IT clinical systems, according to a summary of the survey's results. More than 300 health-care executives responded to the survey. 

Only 36 percent of respondents were satisfied with how performance-measure data were used to assess the value EMRs brought to their organizations, according to the findings. Measurements usually related to quality management, not ROI, they said.

“Often, the limited resources and hurried deadlines associated with EMR implementation preclude a thoughtful, strategic analysis of expected value for the substantial sums invested in clinical IT,” analysts said in the report, “Finding the ROI in Clinical IT Systems: A study on clinical performance measures and maximizing return.”

Slightly more than half of the executives said they would have preferred performance measures that were developed earlier in the EMR implementation process. Beacon conducted the survey over the summer.

“We hope that this survey will provide insight into the challenges of measuring ROI and drive executives to collect and evaluate valuable data from their systems and feedback from their employees to maximize returns on their strategic programs,” said Alan Cudney, executive consultant at Beacon Partners.