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by Brendon Nafziger , DOTmed News Associate Editor
Hospital executives say operating room volume will increase over the next three years, while health information technology serves as a recruiting tool for doctors and nurses, according to a survey commissioned by a medical software firm.

The online survey, carried out by Penn Shoen Berland for Surgical Information Systems LLC, a perioperative software company, polled 142 hospital C-suite executives, including CEOs, chief information officers, chief financial officers and chief medical information officers.

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According to a SIS press release, 49 percent of respondents said OR caseloads rose over the past year, while 75 percent said volumes would keep increasing over the next three years.

The big growth will be in outpatient cases, according to the survey. Ninety-one percent of executives said outpatient volumes will grow over the next three years, while only 39 percent said they expected inpatient volumes to climb.

Most execs thought HIT was a "strategic driver" of success. The most important functions for HIT in the OR were scheduling, systems integration and information storage. Twenty percent of respondents picked scheduling as their top choice, 16 percent integration and 12 percent storage, according to the poll.

Scheduling might have landed on top because about three-quarters of respondents said OR scheduling was "inherently different" from other types of hospital scheduling.

Interestingly, in a survey of 100 U.S. surgeons, also commissioned by SIS and released in July, the doctors' perioperative IT priorities, in order of preference, were error reduction, patient care improvements and ease of use.

For the current survey, the margin of error is plus or minus about 7 percent.

SIS, based in Alpharetta, Ga., makes the SIS Base Surgery, SIS Advanced Surgery and SIS Complete Periop OR software packages.

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