Most CIOs and health IT leaders see security, business intelligence/big data and mobility as the top areas impacting their organizations in 2016 and initiatives related to mobile health and patient engagement are likely driving these IT priorities, according to a survey conducted by TEKsystems.
IT staffing and services firm TEKsystems surveyed healthcare IT leaders, including CIOs, IT vice presidents, IT directors and IT hiring managers, as part of its annual IT forecast and the survey results indicate that 45 percent of IT leaders expert their organization’s IT budget to stay the same this year. Only 41 percent of health IT leaders expect their budgets to increase this year, which represents the lowest percentage expecting budget increases in the past four years. And 14 percent of respondents expect their budgets to decrease.
Yet, at the same time, seven out of 10 health IT leaders (68 percent) expressed confidence in their ability to satisfy overall organizational IT demands. “It appears that organizations have become increasingly comfortable in meeting the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) and EMR/EHR incentive targets as they have turned the corner on implementing these requirements,” the survey report authors wrote.
For the past four years, health IT leaders listed security, mobility and business intelligence/Big Data among the top four areas impacting their organizations. “The consistency of these impact areas explains why IT leaders’ confidence in supporting overall organizational IT demands continues to be strong. Initiatives related to mobile health and patient engagement are underlying drivers for continued spending in security, mobility and business intelligence, as wearables and the Internet of Things (IoT) begin to shift how providers care for their patients,” the survey authors noted.
And, according to survey results, fewer respondents this year compared to previous years expect spending increases in areas such as legacy modernization and enterprise resource planning (ERP).
When it comes to IT staffing in 2016, health IT leaders ranked information security as the most difficult position to fill and, as a result, security continues to maintain its priority as the area where the highest percentage of healthcare IT leaders are allocating salary increases, according to the survey results.
About half of health IT leaders expect to hire more full-time IT staff this year while 44 percent expect to increase hiring for contingent IT staff.
“The forecast results speak to the cyclical nature of IT investments healthcare organizations have undertaken over the past several years,” Ryan Skains, executive director of TEKsystems Healthcare Services, said. “In 2014, regulatory changes drove spending up, but now healthcare leaders have grown past the threshold of building applications or interoperability coding and are looking to get a return on investment. Despite reports that there will be fewer budget increases this year, confidence is at a historical high. Healthcare IT leaders still have some big projects ahead—such as an industrywide move to mobile health and patient portals—yet seem poised to take them on. Hiring is stabilizing with slight increases expected, and salaries are expected to increase for skill sets that will be critical for this digital modernization.”