CIOs scorecard on 2018 predictions, and what lies ahead

Healthcare execs say they were able to make progress on integrating EHRs, but see growing needs for cybersecurity spending.

CIOs measure their progress on 2018 predictions, and look ahead to the future

Healthcare CIOs have faced significant technical challenges in 2018, and more tough choices lie ahead. Spok, a healthcare communications vendor, last year conducted a survey of top IT executives who are members of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives to find their top priorities for 2018. The company said it was curious to find out whether the CIOs’ predictions became reality; to find out, it analyzed several industry reports and asked a handful of CIOs to recap their experiences. That research also is the basis for what it sees as top 2019 priorities than CIOs.

2018 goal: EHR integration

In surveying CIOs last year, 62 percent predicted that 2018 would be the year of integration of electronic health records systems with other systems. As the year draws to a close, it appears progress has been made—some 78 percent of CIOs say they are integrating patient monitoring data (such as bedside blood pressure and pulse oximetry, blood glucose and EKG data).

2018 goal: IT investments

The push to increase EHR integration was expected to influence IT investments, the CIOs reported—some 71 percent said they were going to base IT investment decisions on the need to achieve EHR integration. Of CIOs contacted by Spok, the company reported that all of them said that they have followed through on this; those CIOs say they expect the bulk of IT investment to go toward analytics.

2018 goal: Technology selection

A year ago, CIOs were looking to implement technology to improve care coordination and communication—79 percent of respondents said they were selecting and deploying technology primarily for secure messaging. Much progress has been made—as this year draws to a close, 90 percent of hospitals are said to have adopted mobile technology and say it’s helped them to improve patient safety and outcomes.

2018 priority shift: Mobile technology interest rises

At the start of the year, only one in four CIOs said developing a mobile strategy to support clinical workflows was not “top of mind.” By year-end, some CIOs reported progress—39 percent of mobile strategies were updated to better meet the needs of end users.

2019 predictions

When asked about HIT trends for 2019, 87 percent of responding CIOs say they expect to increase spending on cybersecurity. In addition, 57 percent of CIOs say they’re working to foster a data-driven culture. And there’s growing concern about the potential disruption posed by large technology companies—10 percent of CIOs are very concerned, 70 percent are somewhat concerned, while 20 percent are less concerned.

Further out: 2022 predictions

CIOs are expecting other major technology changes. Some 69 percent expect health data to be stored in hybrid/private clouds by 2022; 45 percent expect the use of telehealth to increase; and CIOs expect mobile-enabled workflows to be a core part of the EHR—for example, 70 percent of them see-medication administration to have a mobile workflow component, and 71 percent see the same future for clinical documentation.

Looking ahead to 2024

CIOs see rising challenges and changes for the future. Some 70 percent say they will apply data analytics and artificial intelligence to IT operations. In fact, the most impactful forces on health IT are expected to be artificial intelligence, consumer technology and genomics. But staffing will continue to be a vexing issue—talent for emerging technologies is expected to be inadequate to fill 30 percent of global demand.

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