Healthcare organizations around the world have collectively invested billions in EHRs. Further investment is almost certain as the technology’s documented ability to improve outcomes can help support more efficient, safer care models essential to the success of value-based care. The global EHR market is projected to reach nearly $24 billion by 2020, up from $15.56 billion in 2013, according to a Transparency Market Research report.

Hospitals and health systems will continue to make significant investments in EHRs as the industry becomes more reliant on data and more focused on personalized care. Many organizations that have already gone live with EHRs have yet to achieve full return on investment. Numerous provider organizations around the nation anticipated the technology would ultimately save money or pay for itself through process improvements. However, challenges associated with the technology — burnout among physicians and staff from increased clerical and administrative burden as well as the significant overhead associated with supporting enterprise EHRs— have undercut these expectations. The situation has left many hospital CIOs to navigate the liminal space between EHR go-live and the truly data-driven healthcare of the future.

EHR optimization cannot be achieved with quick, one-time fixes. These high-powered systems must be treated like any other piece of sophisticated equipment and maintained with regular “care and feeding,” according to Bill Grana, CEO of HCTec, a national provider of healthcare IT workforce solutions based in Nashville, Tenn.

"Health systems face an enormous set of challenges just getting these EHR systems implemented and activated, but really that's just the beginning. One could argue the post go-live challenges are even more significant."

Bill Grana, CEO - HCTEC

With its staff of more than 500 consultants and 225-plus corporate team members, HCTec provides comprehensive healthcare workforce solutions to more than 1,000 hospitals around the nation. EHR optimization and support as well as achieving return on investment in health IT are among the company’s areas of focus.

At Kansas City, Mo.-based Saint Luke’s Health System, collaboration with HCTec helped the system develop a strategy to meaningfully increase overall productivity and employee satisfaction after a systemwide EHR go-live contributed to higher rates of dissatisfaction and turnover in the IT department. With HCTec solutions in place, staff were able to spend more time on productive tasks and less time working to address EHR maintenance issues. The strategy has contributed to an 80 percent reduction in staff turnover and helped yield a projected cost savings of $20 million over the span of five years.

Mr. Grana’s background includes significant experience with high growth health IT companies.  These include founder, leadership and board roles in software and technology enabled firms in the workplace population health management, occupational medicine, and laboratory markets. He recently spoke to Becker’s about EHR optimization, HCTec’s collaboration with health systems, and the future of health IT.

To read the full interview, Click Here.