PITTSBURGH, May 19, 2021 — In the ninth annual Health IT Industry Outlook Survey conducted by Stoltenberg Consulting Inc., a leading healthcare information technology consulting firm, 59% of healthcare chief information officers (CIOs) identified “getting the most out of existing IT purchases, like the EHR system” as the biggest financial goal for the year, followed by “maximizing value-based care reimbursement” at 20%, “improving and sustaining the speed and accuracy of financial reporting” at 11%, and “reducing claims denials and speeding up patient payments” at 9%.
IT departments are feeling intense pressure to not only unify care coordination, but also optimize digital health expansion amid the COVID-19 financial aftermath. In terms of operational hurdles, for a second year in a row, “retaining and budgeting for qualified IT resources” (55%) stood out as CIOs’ biggest operational burden in the aftershock of many hospitals’ significant IT spending and staffing changes in response to the pandemic.
The pandemic also propelled a shift in overall focus. When asked, “Aside from COVID-19, what do you predict is the biggest focus for the health IT industry this year?” over half of CIOs deemed “patient engagement” as the industry’s top priority for the year. In a major change from last year, prioritization on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning dropped dramatically. This year, just 14% of CIOs said AI is their top area of focus.
“Whereas healthcare organizations may have previously gone through the motions of patient engagement enablement for value-based care incentives,” said Sheri Stoltenberg, Founder and CEO of Stoltenberg Consulting, “the pandemic’s dramatic shift to remote care and true digital health advancement has forever transformed consumer-driven patient expectations toward taking a more active, yet convenient role in their own care journeys.”
When assessing where healthcare organizations plan to invest the most IT dollars over the next year, catching up on “EHR new version upgrades” took the top spot (31%). Considering the onslaught of healthcare ransomware incidents in the past year, “cybersecurity measures” landed next in spending priority at 25%, followed by “maximizing data analytics programs” (22%), “telehealth support” (20%), and “applying AI initiatives” (2%). These top two spending areas aligned closely again when CIOs were asked, “What is the most recent or near future IT mission critical event for your organization?” At 33%, “cybersecurity response” took first rank with “EHR new version upgrades” closely behind at 30%, followed by “system consolidation from M&A activity” (19%), and “system, server or software patching” (17%).
Stoltenberg cohosted the 2021 survey with the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) virtually. Survey participants represented CIOs from a comprehensive spectrum of U.S. hospital facilities, including multi-hospital health systems, community hospitals, academic medical centers and ambulatory surgical facilities.
For a complete look at the 2021 survey results and analysis report, visit www.stoltenberg.com.
About Stoltenberg Consulting
FlexSourcing, Stoltenberg Consulting’s 3X Best in KLAS Partial IT Outsourcing program, delivers day-one ROI through an on-demand, versatile cross-trained workforce that can scale up at any time. Averaging 15 years of experience, Stoltenberg analysts are skilled in both financial and clinical systems with best practice expertise for Epic, Cerner, MEDITECH, NextGen, Allscripts, and eClinicalWorks systems. Through FlexSourcing’s agile program including Tier 1 service desk, get the most out of your EHR investment. Align flexible IT support with your health system’s evolving needs to curb EHR burnout, boost physician satisfaction, and improve the patient experience. To see how Stoltenberg simplifies healthcare technology, visit www.stoltenberg.com.
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