Study identifies top areas of concern for healthcare IT executives
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
The Center for Connected Medicine partnered with the Health Management Academy for a survey featuring responses from executives of leading health systems on their health information technology priorities.
The survey explores five advanced health information technologies set to impact healthcare, including artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, consumer-facing technology, predictive analytics and virtual care.
The research examines implementation, impacts and challenges in each of these areas and explores anomalies. Healthcare executives recently rated artificial intelligence as the most disruptive technology in healthcare, but per the study, an overwhelming two-thirds of respondents said AI is actually a "low" or "very low" priority for their health systems
That said, more than 50 percent of health systems said they either already use AI, or plan to implement AI solutions in their hospitals.
Sometimes, even the experts don’t know what they want.
However, these same healthcare informatics executives say they are feeling some anxiety heading into 2019 because of growing interest in healthcare from the world's foremost technology companies. Where there’s money to be invested you’ll find the world’s biggest IT companies looking for a portion of the pie.
In fact, 70 percent health IT executives are "somewhat concerned" about technology companies like Google, Amazon and Apple encroaching into the healthcare space, according to the survey.
Just 17 percent of respondents said they were not worried at all about "big tech" companies entering the healthcare space, while 10 percent said they were "very concerned." Those concerns are driven by the ability of those companies to offer a better consumer experience.
"The biggest threat is if these companies get between us and the end consumer," one CEO said. "If there is a platform regulated and controlled by someone other than us — that makes us nervous."
Others said the technology companies would force price transparency faster than incumbent health systems are willing to go, which some executives say could lead to confusion among consumers. Of course, patient advocates have long pushed for broader transparency in healthcare where prices for one procedure can vary wildly from one hospital to the next.
According to reporting by Fierce Healthcare, some healthcare executives think new partnership opportunities with the tech companies, particularly in the supply chain, might be a benefit to their healthcare organizations. "A survey earlier this year found that the majority of healthcare executives believe Amazon can live up to its hype in that regard," the site reported.
Cybersecurity remains a top concern for health systems, but other challenges are emerging. Telehealth and interoperability are near the top. Predictive analytics and consumer-facing technology have fallen out of top contention.
Nearly 90 percent of respondents said they expect to increase their cyber budgets in 2019. Half of them then said the increase would be greater than 5 percent and only 20 percent said they were "very confident" in their IT recovery and business continuity plans. Spear phishing campaigns are the most pervasive challenge, they said.
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