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CIOs Report Increased Healthcare IT Spending, Cloud Usage

More than half of healthcare CIOs report an increase in healthcare IT spending, and many report implementing cloud options to improve availability and resiliency.

By Elizabeth Snell

As healthcare cybersecurity threats continue to evolve, it is not too surprising that a recent survey shows that healthcare CIOs expect to see an increase in healthcare IT spending over the next 12 months.

Healthcare IT spending could affect privacy and security plans

Fifty-two percent of surveyed CIOs in the industry said they would be seeing IT budget increases in the next year, while approximately one-third - 35 percent - reported they would likely have  unchanged budgets.

Harvey Nash and KPMG interviewed 190 healthcare CIOs specifically, and 3,352 CIOs and technology leaders in total for their 2016 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey.  

In comparison, 45 percent of CIOs in all surveyed industries said they expected IT budget increases and 33 percent reported they expect to see unchanged budgets.

The survey also found that 80 percent of healthcare executives said they see a growing strategic role in their organization. However, only half of those surveys said they have a "clear digital business vision and strategy."

Other industries had similar tendencies, with 67 percent of CIOs across all sectors reporting a growing strategic role, and 39 percent saying they were currently working on a digital business strategy.

KPMG LLP Healthcare Technology Leader Vince Vickers said in a statement that healthcare organizations are being forced to change the way they think about leveraging technology because of new regulatory challenges and evolving business models.

"Some of these changes can remove costs through automation and provide greater insight into their business from data & analytic tools,” Vickers added. “All of this is putting more pressure on CIOs to quickly and effectively sort through the best new technologies and implement them to engage patients and deliver greater efficiency. So the CIO's role is becoming much more creative, strategic and a key to transformation in healthcare."  

Cloud technology is one of the more popular technological options for healthcare organizations to adopt, the survey found.

For example, 45 percent of healthcare respondents said being able to improve resiliency and availability was a top reason for cloud adoption. Thirty-five percent said it was the best option available, while one-third - 34 percent - reported cloud technology could help to "improve agility and responsiveness."

The healthcare cloud is not without its challenges though, as 55 percent of respondents added that data loss and privacy risks were a top barrier. Integration with existing architecture and legal and regulatory compliance issues were also listed as top barriers for adopting cloud options.

In terms of a skills shortage, 45 percent of healthcare executives said big data and analytics was a troublesome area, while 36 percent said project management. Just under one-third - 29 percent - reported that there was a skills shortage in security and resilience.

These findings slightly differ from a survey earlier this year, conducted by IDC. In that report, nearly 29 percent of surveyed hospitals said they are targeting facility IT spending toward increased security.

Furthermore, approximately 43 percent of large hospitals said improving monitoring of a healthcare environment for security issues a top priority. Thirty-six percent of small hospitals highly prioritized these efforts, while 26 percent of medium hospitals prioritized monitoring the healthcare environment.

IDC also saw in increase in healthcare cloud use though, with 30 percent of providers reporting they were comfortable with the technology in 2014 and a 41.5 percent increase of providers reporting the same in 2015.

“Cybersecurity is one of the new growth areas in the provider IT budget, and this growth is expected to continue in 2016,” wrote the report’s author Judy Hanover. “Threats are top of mind, but the increased availability of resources for IT security is allowing providers to begin to implement strategies to secure data and networks. Top priorities included focusing on security in the cloud, monitoring the environment, and controlling shadow IT.”

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