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IDC Report: Providers’ IT Budgets are Growing in Post-EHR Era

February 3, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
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While 40 percent of healthcare providers reported that their IT budgets are still growing, only 25 percent that reported growing budgets attribute growth to electronic health records (EHRs), providing evidence that the post-EHR era is upon us, according to a new IDC Health Insights report.

Indeed, providers are now turning towards optimizing the business for accountable care, adding analytics and care management, and away from massive enterprise EHR projects. Topics covered in the survey and new report, “Business Strategy: Trends and Opportunities in the U.S. Healthcare Provider Market — A Discussion of the 2015–2016 Healthcare Provider Technology Spend Survey Results,” include enterprise spending and shifts in IT budgets and investment in key areas such as the cloud and clinical applications, including EHR, patient engagement, revenue cycle, and analytics.

The new survey specifically examines technology spending and planned technology spending by U.S. acute care hospitals with 200+ beds. The results indicate that the industry is at the beginning of the post-EHR/post–meaningful use era in healthcare IT. The hospitals responding to the survey overwhelmingly reported confidence in their ability to manage meaningful use. Hospitals were somewhat less confident in their ability to manage healthcare reform requirements other than meaningful use. Additional key findings of the new report include:

• Across all hospitals, top reasons for budget growth included analytics, patient engagement, customer relationship management (CRM), and security.

• Security strategies are maturing. Cybersecurity is one of the new growth areas in the provider IT budget, and this growth is expected to continue in 2016. 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.

• Across all of the technologies examined in the survey, providers are taking advantage of more cloud implementations and leveraging mobile and analytics capabilities in the cloud. While 50 percent of software spending growth is still directed toward on-premise investments, survey respondents reported that 18 percent of new software spend is going into software-as-a-service (SaaS) and 24 percent is going into projects that leverage managed hosting by a third party.

• Comfort levels with cloud are growing. Across all hospitals, 30 percent of the respondents said they were comfortable with cloud in 2014, while an additional 41.5 percent of respondents said they were more comfortable with cloud in 2015 than they were in 2014. Barriers to cloud adoption, primarily comfort levels with security and compliance, are clearly coming down.

• Analytics spending continues to grow, and big data is here to stay. Analytics continues to be one of the fastest-growing segments of the provider IT budget in 2016 as it has been for several years. Ongoing investment in accountable care organizations (ACOs), clinical, and quality will continue in 2016, but hot areas of new analytics investment reported also include provider and care team performance analytics, as well as analytics that examine referral patterns and other financial analytics areas.

According to Research Director Judy Hanover, "This report documents the movement by providers to the 3rd Platform, and across cloud, mobile, and big data technologies, we saw providers making significant investment in 2015, with more planned for 2016."



Thank you for these highlights! At the first view it might seem that the healthcare heads to a wrong direction when focusing on CRM, revenue cycle and analytics areas. Yes, these tools mainly serve marketing and sales. But to deliver effective patient engagement, caregivers need to step forward, enter the post-EHR era, so to say. And this means to broaden the scope of influence tools.

In my opinion, in the post-EHR era healthcare will offer patients an even more individual approach, not throwing the health records away, of course, but extending the range of communication techniques.


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