By CereCore | May 5, 2023
4 minute read Blog| Infographic / Checklist
Results are in from an online survey* of healthcare executives, all CHIME (College of Healthcare Information Management Executives) members, sponsored by CereCore in March 2023 on the topic of IT priorities and pressures.
In this article, part 1 of the results:
Download the 2023 CHIME CIO Survey Results Infographic.
What are healthcare CIOs worried about?
While the 2023 survey provides quantitative data that we can examine for year over year trends, perhaps what might set the stage for the results are the free text answers healthcare executives provided when asked this question: Any other healthcare IT industry pressures or challenges you would like to mention as concerns?
The rapid pace of change and sustained pressure on healthcare IT professionals is a common denominator among these candid responses.
It should be no surprise that the top priority for many CIOs has changed, too.
Cybersecurity is top of mind
In 2023, cybersecurity ranks top priority for healthcare organizations according to 29% of healthcare IT executives, edging out EHR/EPR optimization, which has been listed as the most critical health IT initiative since 2020.
Sese Bennett, virtual Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for CereCore, explained in this news article, “As healthcare facilities grow increasingly reliant on technology, cybersecurity breaches need to be treated as a when not an if event. By understanding hackers’ motivations and being proactive about your systems’ vulnerabilities you can be better prepared for a cybersecurity breach.”
Bennett goes on to advise that health systems need to master the basics when it comes to using strong access controls, be proactive in addressing vulnerabilities, and educate users on cyber behavior and potential security threats.
Optimization is also mission-critical
For more than a third of CIOs, optimization is their number one focus: EHR/EPR optimization (18%) and operational optimization (14%). Optimization efforts can have a ripple effect to improve clinical workflows and provider satisfaction, improve revenue cycle or network performance and system availability. Optimization work can also tap into unused features, helping your health system realize the full value of your IT investment.
Patients want convenient, easy-to-use technology
CIOs continue to pursue patient and consumer engagement technologies with 43% listing them as one of the top three most critical initiatives for their organization.
Technologies such patient portals and third-party applications have become a crucial bridge for patient communication.
Rick Keller, CIO, Ardent Health Services, shared on The CereCore Podcast, “We're trying to move as fast as life for patients and create the connection to them long term by providing ways to schedule online, fill out questionnaires online, find a care setting that meets what they need. When they come back, we know they've been with us before, and we can have a lot of information, and then they’re going, ‘Oh, you remember me.’”
While technology is an important piece of patient engagement, health literacy is another. “The pandemic has changed patient engagement forever, and true patient engagement depends on health literacy. Disengaged patients are three times more likely to have unmet medical needs,” shared Doreen DeGroff, senior director MEDITECH practice at CereCore, in her article on health literacy and the patient portal.
CIO priorities over time
Critical IT initiatives ranked with highest priority
Most significant challenges: money, people, and focus
The 2023 results illustrate the breadth of challenges facing health IT leaders today, especially when compared to just one year earlier. In 2022, more than 50% responded that access to the IT talent was their biggest barrier—they had limited IT bandwidth and found it difficult to source specialized expertise.
2023 responses indicate CIOs are experiencing significant challenges from several high impact areas. All of these barriers ranked number one, from funding to resources to strategic alignment.
When it comes to organizational change, 25% said it was the area they were least concerned about. The pendulum has swung quite dramatically when it comes to leaders being anxious about organizational change, and likely a result of managing through the myriad of change during the pandemic, because in 2020, 65% ranked organizational resistance to change as the biggest barrier to making progress with IT initiatives.
Improving healthcare IT is a must-do for patient care
Change in healthcare IT comes with the territory of continuously improving patient care. When asked to rank three most important areas for improvement in their healthcare organization, the majority responded with these as their highest priority:
Dr. L. Austin Fredrickson, general internist at Salem Regional Medical Center, discussed what it was like from the provider point of view to implement MEDITECH Expanse in both the acute and ambulatory settings. He explained the importance of understanding how physicians use technology and the impact of change.
Dr. Fredrickson said, “The EMR really has to lift the burden of the rest of the team. We understand that healthcare is not outstanding. It's not all lollipops right now. It's a tough time to do anything. And when you're making more changes to a relatively burned-out team that is trying so hard to just take care of patients. It's a big, big, big ask.” Dr. Fredrickson explained ways MEDITECH Expanse is helping him care for patients more efficiently. Listen to more of his conversation on The CereCore Podcast.
*The 2023 online survey and the data reported is based on responses from 27 healthcare executives, all CHIME members, sponsored by CereCore.
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