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With Economy Stabilizing, Hospital Executives Focus on Big Data to Improve Cost Efficiencies and Quality

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NEW YORK, June 17, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ITG Market Research today released the results of a new survey showing that US hospital executives continue to see recovery in the overall economy, and many are starting to see improvements in their organizations' financial performance. However, given shifting hospital profit centers, executives are looking to leverage new approaches and healthcare IT solutions to cut costs and capture value from efficiency and quality control tools. Additionally, ITG Market Research announced the inception of a Global Hospital Executives study with results expected in September 2014.

"There has been a promising uptick in executive confidence about the overall economy," said Graeme Christianson, Director of Healthcare Market Research at ITG. More than half of executives perceive US business conditions to be improving, and 35% expect conditions to improve this year. "But executives are now asking when this economic lift will translate into improvements in the financial performance of their own hospitals or health systems," said Christianson.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (or ACA, also informally known as Obamacare) continues to be a concern, and most executives believe the full impact has not yet been realized. Some executives have observed higher volumes of insured patients in the outpatient setting, which they attribute to the new healthcare law, but outpatient growth has been at the expense of inpatient volumes.

The true cause for anxiety is declining reimbursement. More than 60% of surveyed executives identified reimbursement cuts as one of their chief concerns. "The implication is that executives are concerned that any increase in volume of insured patients from the new healthcare law will not offset the significant cuts they are seeing in reimbursement," added Christianson. With costs constrained, a third of executives reported staffing cuts in the first half of this year, and over 40% expect their spending on large capital equipment to fall over the next year.

To adjust to the new healthcare environment, many hospitals are investing in new healthcare IT solutions designed to provide efficiency and cost management benefits, including Population Health Management (PHM) and Enterprise Business Intelligence (BI) solutions. "We are entering a post-EMR [Electronic Medical Records] world," noted Christianson, who also mentioned that nearly 90% of hospitals in the survey have a fully functional EMR system. "Executives are asking themselves, 'We have an EMR, so what's next?'"

To improve cost efficiencies, more hospitals are participating in group purchasing organizations (GPOs) and accountable care organization (ACO) initiatives. There is also growing interest in partnering with federal and private payors in risk-based contracting, which executives expect to have a dramatic impact on cost management. The most common risk-based models in use today are the shared savings and bundled payments models, but hospitals and payors are experimenting with a variety of different approaches. To date, risk-based contracting has penetrated a relatively small proportion of US hospitals, but almost half of executives who are not currently participating in risk-based contracting plan to begin implementation within the next 12 months. Risk-based contracting also relies heavily on healthcare IT solutions to manage patients, track supply chain activity, and contain costs.

Additional metrics in ITG's new report include purchase trends for robotic surgical equipment, large capital equipment, and a variety of cardiovascular, orthopedic, and spine implants. Furthermore, ITG's Hospital Executive Confidence Index provides insight into hospital purchasing trends, since the report series was launched in 2011 and tracks vendor consolidation, market-share discounting, and deployment of other supply chain management strategies. It also provides insight into what executives really think about the new healthcare law and reimbursement and how it will affect their planning, investing, and purchasing.

About HOSPITAL EXECUTIVES

ITG's HOSPITAL EXECUTIVES is a syndicated report series launched in 2011 that tracks and analyzes leading indicators and key metrics that define the US hospital industry. These bi-annual reports provide timely insights and forward-looking projections to support more informed decision-making regarding the impact of new products, changing economic conditions, financial pressures, regulatory constraints, managed care policies, and governmental regulations on hospital purchasing plans and market dynamics. ITG Market Research is excited to announce that coverage will be expanded to include top developed markets in Europe (France, Germany, United Kingdom) and Asia (Japan, Korea) in 2014.

About ITG Market Research

ITG Market Research is the primary market research offering of ITG (NYSE:ITG), an independent global agency brokerage firm. ITG's differentiated research platform is based upon leveraging large amounts of statistically relevant, real-time data.

ITG Market Research delivers high quality healthcare market intelligence quickly - combining survey results with empirical data to deliver innovative syndicated and custom reporting. Its cutting-edge market research capabilities enable us to provide clients with the insights and clarity they need to make informed business decisions.

To learn more about ITG Market Research's products and services, please contact Christina Landon, Director of Healthcare, at: 1.212.323.3527, christina.landon@itg.com, or visit: marketresearch.itg.com

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