Jul 15 2020

The IT Investment Priorities Shaping Healthcare Today

A new survey from CDW and IDG finds that IT leaders’ allocated budgets are already closely aligned with emerging healthcare technology priorities.

COVID-19 has left the traditional operating model of many healthcare organizations in shambles. It’s forced healthcare decision-makers to adjust on the fly to address the IT needs surrounding remote work and virtual care — a unique predicament for an overtly personal industry.

This massive modification in how care providers operate has brought with it a host of new technology challenges while also shining a light on existing ones, from substandard cybersecurity training to poor patient experiences. 

To get back on track, IT and healthcare leaders must unite around a common understanding of the organization’s specific needs and goals. Realignment in these areas enables stakeholders to identify and agree on the right IT investments.

The good news? A survey conducted by CDW and IDG earlier this year demonstrates just that: IT and healthcare leaders are balancing investments in four essential areas — security, workplace productivity, infrastructure modernization and patient experience.

Here are key findings from the report that IT and healthcare leaders should consider, especially as they face an uncertain future.

Security Awareness, Compliance to Remain Top Security Priorities

Cybersecurity is always a top concern for healthcare IT officials, but as some clinicians and support staff pivoted to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic — increasing the number of endpoints and possible weaknesses — it became even more critical. 

Meanwhile, threat actors seeking to exploit overstrained facilities amid a public health crisis are on the rise. 

It’s no surprise, then, that CDW and IDG healthcare survey respondents cited end users as a primary concern: 54 percent of healthcare leaders said that the biggest security problem they’re trying to solve is increasing security awareness and staff training, followed by implementing end-user security policies (43 percent) and better leveraging data and analytics (43 percent).

To improve risk posture, 40 percent of healthcare respondents said they’re considering investing in security information and event management (SIEM) technologies, which is 11 percent higher than the average across all other industries. The top driver behind this planned investment: government compliance/regulation mandates, as cited by 52 percent of respondents.

READ MORE: Discover different methods for minimizing security risks in healthcare.

Collaboration and Mobility Remain Focus Areas to Improve Productivity

With the recent and rapid shift to telehealth and virtual care, healthcare organizations are searching for ways that technology can not only create better end-user experiences, but also cut costs, remain secure and improve care providers’ productivity.

Survey findings show that healthcare IT leaders, in order to boost employee productivity and engagement, are planning to invest heavily in analytics software (48 percent), storage (48 percent), productivity software (46 percent), virtual meeting software (46 percent) and mobile solutions (45 percent). 

And while these tools are certainly important, it’s worth noting how organizations plan to use them: 47 percent plan to use their technology to invest in training and certifications that can improve workplace productivity, flexibility and engagement over the next two years. That’s closely followed by using tech to enable access to real-time information (45 percent), collaboration (41 percent) and mobile access to organizational applications and data (41 percent). Such investments in collaboration and mobile solutions have proved useful time and time again in healthcare settings, and that will likely continue in the wake of COVID-19.

48%

The percentage of healthcare organizations that plan to invest in analytics software to boost employee productivity and engagement over the next two years.

Source: IDG, “2020 Insights: Technology Investment Priorities,” February 2020

Data Sits at the Forefront of Improving Patient Experiences

Healthcare, especially now, is continuously evolving to better serve its patients and offer quality care. In recent months, healthcare providers have scaled their telehealth offerings from a mere handful of appointments each week to hundreds of sessions.

Ensuring a positive patient experience with the technology, however, requires more than just a dedicated and well-trained care provider. That’s why healthcare survey respondents (45 percent) cited the importance of redesigning processes to align with new technology and developing an organizationwide strategy to improve patient experiences (42 percent) as top initiatives in the next two years. 

It’s also worth noting that half of healthcare respondents plan to include the real-time capture of patient feedback on their list of improvements over that time, followed by creating or improving the online experience for patients (48 percent) and providing ways to access information securely from anywhere (47 percent). These investments go hand in hand with what experts recommend for transforming patient telehealth experiences.

And, of course, to make virtual care work seamlessly for patients, healthcare organizations understand they’ll need to invest heavily in data and analytics technologies (61 percent), mobile apps (48 percent) and mobile devices (40 percent).

MORE FROM HEALTHTECH: Learn why predictive analytics are critical to better care delivery.

A Modern Infrastructure Helps to Achieve Modern Objectives

The scale at which telehealth, virtual care and remote work have grown during the pandemic is unprecedented. And supporting and sustaining this type of growth can only be achieved through a modern IT infrastructure

It’s good news, then, that an overwhelming majority of healthcare respondents feel that their organization’s current technology infrastructure is either very well aligned (44 percent) or somewhat well aligned (48 percent) with its future vision and goals. In fact, only 8 percent of healthcare individuals responded that they’re not very well aligned.

That preparedness hasn’t stopped organizations from looking to the future, though: 46 percent of respondents cited IT cost management as a priority to help them meet their business objectives over the next two years, followed by cloud monitoring/management (45 percent) and developing a long-term IT roadmap (41 percent).

Further supporting healthcare’s good positioning, respondents in IT roles expect that two years from now, 79 percent of their total IT environments will leverage cloud delivery models, preparing them for anything that might come their way.