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Hospital Leaders Unsure of Health IT Growth, Long Term Strategy

A recent Black Book survey cited top trends in 2017 for healthcare organizations in areas such as overall health IT growth, interoperability, and data security.

By Kate Monica

Political and financial dissonance leaves hospital leaders unsure about the future of health IT growth, according to recent survey.

Doug Brown, Managing Partner of Black Book, said 90 percent of hospital leaders surveyed believe political uncertainty spurred by the possible repeal of Obamacare will “at best decelerate decision-making on planned or ongoing initiatives, and at worst drain IT investment dollars for a protracted period of time.”

The survey also identified nine short-term healthcare IT trends that will likely extend through the first half of 2017:

Purchases through the second quarter of 2017 will be based on current business need

Technology budgets and annual provider revenue remain constant and are expected to continue at a flat rate through 2017. Seventy-seven percent of hospital IT buyers report anticipating cautious IT spending and staffing in the first two quarters of 2017. Technology spending is expected to decrease by 13 percent from last year.

With this spending trajectory in mind, Black Book recommends “an assessment of less expensive options and cloud applications. Black Book also advises healthcare organizations hire more IT consultants to formulate new strategic planning and employ payment-related enhancements or outsourcing.

Electronic Data Warehouses will become a top priority

With 94 percent of small hospitals reporting that they do not have actionable information for health analytics, providers are advises acquiring an electronic data warehouse as soon as possible. Proper analytics will improve quality and cut down on costs.

In response, 90 percent of CIO’s plan to address their organizational data warehousing and storage problems in the first quarter of 2017.

Renewed and upgraded Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERP) will become imperative to value-based care costing

Eighty-five percent of hospitals under 200 beds reported being “underinvested in ERP as most have avoided full implementations, upgrades and enhancements over the past three years.” By extension, 93 percent of CFO’s assert that ERP are necessary for price transparency, supply chain efficiencies, and true costing for value-based care.

Cloud-based ERP systems will be the industry standard for hospital CFO’s assessing value-based risk without enterprise resource planning systems.

Cloud tools provide a variety of benefits from cost savings and remote file sharing to expanded storage. Because the cloud offers immediate, internet-based computing and data accessible to any device on a connected network, they provide the added benefit of security and recovery in the case of a system crash.

Financially-stable, regional Integrated Delivery Networks (IDN’s) will funnel money toward improved connectivity while less well-equipped organizations lag

Eighty-five percent of hospitals in “siloed EHR networks” will not have the capabilities to improve interoperability in 2017. Further, 88 percent of hospitals over 100 beds admit with decreasing margins they will not approach problems with interoperability or data access due to insufficient funds dedicated toward data exchange in 2017.

Increased adoption of vendor-neutral Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standards as an alternative to vendor-owned interfaces has left 94 percent of standalone hospital administrators waiting on FHIR advancements before dedicating appropriate funds toward interoperability.

The following are five additional industry trends Black Book found from its survey:

  • Providers remain vigilant in anticipation of large-scale healthcare cyberattacks before taking serious security defense measures.
  • The Cloud will be the primary way to build enterprise architecture. 
  • Front end and middle office business office functions & RCM outsourcing set to increase.
  • Skilled hospital tech staff recruitment will become more difficult in the coming year.
  • Sustained interest in Precision Medicine will not translate into commitments to buy for the first half of 2017.

While technology and security are expected to have difficulties in the first two quarters of 2017, short-term strategies should help push the industry forward in the transition to true interoperability in a value-based system.

Dig Deeper:
Changes to Industry to Impact Role of Healthcare CIOs
Understanding Large-Scale Health System EHR Implementations

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