CMSA'S Pulse eNewsletter


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Pat Stricker, RN, MEd

Healthcare Consultant

Former SVP of TCS Healthcare Technologies

Are you ready to answer questions on the 2021 Health Information Technology Survey?  Are you ready to provide your feedback to CMSA about technology, tell what you like/dislike about technology, give your ideas or suggestions you have about technology, including where you think technology is going and how it is affecting the practice of case management?  

CMSA is working on the 2021 Health Information Technology Survey, which will be released soon. It will be a follow-up to a series of surveys conducted by CMSA in 2008, 2010, and 2012. Now, almost 10 years later, it will be interesting to see how much technology has changed over the years and what influence it has had on the practice of case management. However, before I get ahead of myself, let me describe the previous Survey Series to those of you who may not have been members of CMSA between 2008 and 2014.

The Health Information Technology Survey Series (2008 – 2012)

The healthcare industry has been radically transformed with the adoption of computers, electronics, and health information technology (HIT) applications and devices. Care professionals are faced with trying to understand and use many different types of HIT systems, determine how they directly or indirectly impact care delivery and decide how to incorporate them into their daily care processes of caring for patients. It’s not easy to keep up with all the advancements and new applications, evaluate their effectiveness, and know what to expect in the future. And, this type of technology continues to evolve exponentially. Clearly, HIT applications are changing the practice of care management in profound ways.

In addition to using a wide variety of HIT platforms with different orientations and attributes, medical management programs also implement numerous approaches to optimize workflows. These are developed both in-house and externally in vendor applications. Simply put, information technology platforms supporting case management processes are not standardized.  

In 2008 the first Health Information Technology Survey was conducted by CMSA in an attempt to understand how various HIT applications were impacting the practice of case management. This survey was sponsored by CMSA, the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians, Inc. (ABQAURP) and TCS Healthcare Technologies (TCS). 

A core objective of the survey was to assess the general trends related to HIT systems, especially as they relate to case management applications and the functionality within those applications.  In addition, the survey examined other applications used by providers, payers, clinical organizations, and others to support case management interventions and patient care. Raising public awareness about case management software applications and their role in the larger HIT arena was also an objective. In addition, the information obtained could also be used by healthcare organizations and vendors of HIT software systems to identify problems and issues and determine what users wanted/needed, so they could develop more meaningful clinical programs and software products.

The goal of the survey was to analyze how the following key HIT trends influenced the practice of case management (CM):

  • HIT infrastructure, integration, interfaces, and interoperability
  • Case management and IT functionality
  • Existing and future communication links
  • Caseloads
  • Data Analytics, predictive modeling capabilities, and return on investment
  • User satisfaction and adoption curve rates
  • Transitions of care and readmission prevention programs
  • Respondents’ attitudes on the value of health IT systems

The same Health Information Technology Survey was conducted again in 2010 and 2012, with additional questions added in 2012 to collect more detail on specific areas that were identified in the first two surveys. Examples include transitions of care, readmissions, patient engagement, predictive modeling software, etc.

These three bi-annual surveys allowed the data to be tracked over a period of five years to identify trends and emerging patterns related to HIT perceptions and use that were pertinent to case management. The results of each survey were published bi-annually at the conclusion of the survey. In total, over 1,500 individuals participated in one or more of the biannual surveys.

In 2013 a more detailed longitudinal analysis of the results from all three surveys was performed, revealing dozens of insights into how HIT applications were affecting case managers and other providers. This resulted in a fourth report being published in 2014 by Schooner Healthcare Services for the study sponsors (CMSA, ABQAURP, and TCS).

Instead of creating a White Paper, a detailed 109 page report, “Health Information Technology Survey: How Technology is Changing the Practice of Case Management”, was published. It included a series of nine Trend Reports that provided an in-depth analysis of each goal, as well as a longitudinal comparison of the data and findings from all three surveys for the five year research timeframe. Detailed information, charts, analysis, findings, and conclusions were also included for each area.

  • Trend Report #1: Introduction & Methodology -- Provides a background on the participants, sampling technique, methodology, and survey execution.
  • Trend Report #2:  Communication and Social Media -- Assesses traditional, current, and emerging patient communication channels.
  • Trend Report #3: Case Management IT Functions -- Examines system functionality, including workflow automation, creation of care plans, population stratification and predictive modeling, clinical and financial outcomes reporting, time management tracking, and reporting capabilities.
  • Trend Report #4: Transitions of Care & Readmissions -- Highlights how HIT is supporting care transitions and readmissions prevention programs.
  • Trend Report #5: Patient Engagement Strategies -- Analyzes HIT programs and how they help increase patient engagement and develop strategies to keep patients engaged
  • Trend Report #6: Information Technology Infrastructure -- Examines how HIT integration and infrastructure affects and promotes healthcare.
  • Trend Report #7: Caseloads – Analyzes factors that affect variations in caseloads and challenges of determining an “average” caseload.
  • Trend Report #8: Data Analytics & Return on Investment -- Analyzes how software, reporting tools, and predictive modeling programs are used and their effect on care delivery.
  • Trend Report #9: Satisfactions & the Adoption Curve -- Focuses on satisfaction and adoption rates of case management software applications and EHR systems

The tracking and reporting of key health IT trends over a long time period was most helpful. It revealed emerging patterns in technology usage, how systems support health care professionals, which functionalities are essential in optimizing clinical, business, and financial outcomes, and how caring for today’s patients requires health professionals to adopt new and different strategies in order to interact effectively with them. These findings were also helpful for clinicians, public policy experts, business executives, software vendors, others to make more informed decisions when developing, implementing, and adopting new healthcare IT solutions.  

The level of detail in this research was groundbreaking at the time. A study of this depth and timeframe had not been done before. New healthcare platforms were evolving and providing an immense opportunity to expand patient care, enhance patient/provider relationships, and improve the quality. The growth and evolution of health IT systems to support patient-centric care management was a welcome development and leveraging these technologies was a high priority.

The Planned 2021 Health Information Technology Survey

The new survey is being developed by several members who worked on the original survey series. The questions will be the same as those used in the original series with additional ones added to accommodate new current practices, e.g. telehealth, remote monitoring devices, automated follow-up phone calls, etc. Knowing the number of changes that occurred in the previous five year time span, it will be interesting to see how many and what kinds of changes have impacted case management practice in the past nine years.        

The survey will be released soon and we encourage everyone to take a few minutes to complete the survey. The more participation, the better the data will be. This is your time to make your voice heard. We need your input and there will be areas for you to also enter your suggestions or concerns. Once the data is analyzed, there will be a written report that compares it to the results in 2012. It is sure to be drastically different in many functional areas.  Watch for further notices from CMSA. Please help us gather this data.


While we all may have a “love/hate relationship” with technology, the surveys highlight how closely we are connected to technology and how that connection is increasing each year.  Sometimes it seems like technology is slowing us down, but we definitely cannot do our job without it.

Can you imagine what it will be like in the future when we truly do have an integrated system with everyone having access to the same information?  It will allow data to be easily integrated into various HIT systems, so everyone has immediate access to the data they need. It will also help streamline and standardize processes, improve communication among the healthcare team to provide better transition of care, and improve outcomes and quality of care.

We’ve been waiting a long time for that and it seemed like an impossible feat when we first started talking about it, but great strides have been made in the past few years. Integration, interoperability, and a standard, shared patient record is still on the horizon. It is coming -- slowly, but surely!     


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