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Survey: Half of CIOs Say Budget Constraints Are Biggest Risk to Protecting Patient Data

May 23, 2017
by Heather Landi
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Practically all CIOs are concerned about data being compromised, and more than half (56 percent) identified budget and resource constraints as the biggest risk in protecting their hospital and patient data, according to a new survey released by Spok.

In order to gauge CIOs current thinking on data security and clinical mobility, Spok collaborated with the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) to poll 100 healthcare CIOs. CHIME administered the survey in March.

The survey results indicate that CIOs are aware of the challenges and opportunities involved in getting their arms around data security and mobile communication options for their organizations. Practically all CIOs (95 percent) are concerned about data being compromised.

With regard to the security of protected health information (PHI), with one in five (26 percent) of the CIOs responding to the survey report that they are unsure how much PHI is being shared insecurely. Further, 30 percent of CIOs estimate that more than 20 percent of hospital data is shared via unsecured methods.

Sixty-one percent of hospitals enforce penalties on staff who don’t comply with mobile policies.

The Use of Secure Communication Methods

For the survey CIOs were polled about the secure communication methods that staff use. The responses: 88 percent encrypted email; 48 percent HIPAA-compliant secure texting; 48 percent in-building Wi-Fi phones and 17 percent encrypted pagers.

Both physicians (57 percent) and nurses (54 percent) are dissatisfied with current communication methods outside of the electronic health record (EHR), according to the survey findings.

Drilling down into the use of hospital secure texting, 39 percent of CIOs report that their hospitals have secure texting only for personal devices (BYOD), 35 percent supply secure texting only on hospital-issued devices and 26 percent provide secure texting on both BYOD and hospital-issued devices. Forty-one percent of CIOs report that they do not currently support HIPAA-compliant secure texting on any device but are planning to in the future.

The CIOs who participated in the survey also were polled about the top four reasons hospitals use pagers, both in-house pagers and wide-area pagers. About half of CIOs responded that both in-house pagers and wide-area pagers are the “most appropriate device for specific employee groups or departments.” Other reasons given were: reliability (40 percent for in-house pagers, 41 percent for wide-area pagers); cost and time savings (36 percent in-house and 41 percent wide-area); and easy workflow integration (28 percent for in-house and 21 percent for wide-area).

Also, 11 percent of CIOs are considering encrypted pagers.

Mobility and Clinical Process Improvements

The majority of CIOs polled (69 percent) say that their hospital views mobile strategies as a key initiative to improve clinical and operational outcomes. Forty percent of CIOS are considering or planning to hire consultants in the next 12 months to assist with mobile communication initiatives. And, 60 percent of CIOs say their organizations have established process improvement teams work on mitigating gaps in workflows.

However, the survey findings indicate that execution remains a work in progress. Almost a third (30 percent) of clinical staff cannot receive messages from colleagues on mobile devices and 60 percent of clinical staff do not have mobile access to clinical decision support systems. Further, only 30 percent are able to receive nurse call alerts or notification of changes in patient vital signs on mobile devices.

The survey found that 63 percent of CIOs report that their hospital does not have a formal process to quantify the success of mobile projects. When asked to evaluate how successful their organizations are at adopting mobile technologies for workflow improvements, 45 percent said “poor or extremely poor” and 55 percent “somewhat or extremely successful.”

Most CIOs report that their organizations or “somewhat or extremely successful” at preparing end users for new technologies, while 39 percent described their efforts to prepare end users as “poor or extremely poor.”



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