A year-end poll from Black Book Market Research – which surveyed healthcare CEOs, CIOs and CFOs – predicts an uncertain year ahead for health IT as political, financial, clinical and business questions come into focus and shape hospital decision making.
Technology budgets should remain flat in 2017, according to Black Book, which finds that a substantial majority (77 percent) of hospital IT decision makers forecast sluggish spending and staffing at least through Q1 and Q2 ot the year. Physician practices, meanwhile, report expecting an average 13 percent decrease in their budgets.
Nearly all (94 percent) of hospitals of 200 beds or fewer say they're not adequately capturing the information necessary for actionable population health analytics. Manging all that patient info requires a data warehouse. Seventy-two percent of financial executives recognize that their electronic health records are producing reports but aren't giving the results they need to achieve complex risk modeling, and need EDWs to do it, according to Black Book. But even those hospitals with the technology installed (81 percent of them) say they still have challenges adequately storing and managing EHR, financial data, labor and supply chain data.
Eighty-five percent of hospitals with fewer than 200 beds say they've so far avoided full implementations, upgrades and enhancements of their ERP capabilities in recent years, says Black Book. But 93 percent of CFOs say price transparency, supply chain efficiencies and value-based care necessitate full investments in ERP.
Eighty-five percent of hospitals with siloed EHR networks don't expect much enhancements in interoperability in 2017, according to Black Book, and even more (88 percent) of CIOs of hospitals with more than 100 beds and decreasing margins say funding just isn't budgeted in 2017 to enable improvements in data exchange.
The vast majority (95 percent) of hospitals with more than 200 beds say they're girded for big cyber attacks in 2017. But even so, they say they're not ready, from a technology perspective, to deal with them: along with insufficient threat detection (reported by 82 percent of respondents in hospitals with fewer than 400 beds), "traditional tools have contributed to alert fatigue by excessively warning about activities that may not be indicative of a real security incident," according to the Black Book report.
More than half (55 percent) of CIOs tell Black Book that they're confident in their cloud application strategies. But many providers still haven't yet invested in cloud storage for disaster recovery (83 percent). That number could change in 2017.
"Accuracy in pre-service, registration, timely capture of referrals, authorizations, and point of service financial clearance procedures will be key to improving downstream cash flow while decreasing the amount of rework and cost to collect," according to Black Book, based on feedback from CFOs. "Middle office functions such as coding and clinical documentation improvement initiatives will be recognized as critical functions in favorable revenue cycle performance."
Market value for IT professionals for expertise in healthcare analytics, security, big data, and cloud applications has risen nearly 25 percent in 2016 already, according to the report. Moreover: "healthcare companies that rely on foreign workers through the H-1B programs may see new policies restricting the use of this provision that could limit the supply of talent, increase the cost of talent, or both."
Precision medicine is exciting, but providers tell Black Book that it's "very hard to implement." Even with digitized patient records, genomics requires "fine-toothed data that most hospitals simply don't have." Its advice for tacking personalized care? "Go back and address issues 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 before proceeding."