News

Hospital Health IT Demands are Outstripping Health IT Resources

Health IT leaders that were surveyed said patient safety and cybersecurity rank atop their list of priorities.

Hospital Health IT Demands are Outstripping Health IT Resources
Photo by Daniel Sone/CC
“Do more with less” is up there with “work smarter not harder” as directives employees don’t want to hear from upper management. If you work in the health IT department of a hospital, you might want to cover your ears.
 
A new report from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) said hospital IT departments will have more on their plates this year but will have fewer resources to do the job.
 
HIMSS released the report, the 2018 HIMSS U.S. Leadership and Workforce Survey, at the group’s big annual conference and exhibition being held this week in Las Vegas. The event attracted more 40,000 registered attendees and a record 1,355 exhibitors.
 
The report is based on a survey of 224 health IT leaders working primarily at hospitals but also long-term care facilities and ambulatory care sites.
 
The respondents’ top five health IT priorities this year are:
  1. Patient safety (also the top-ranked priority last year)
  2. Privacy, security and cybersecurity (up from third last year)
  3. Process improvement, workflow and change management (up from seventh last year)
  4. Data analytics and clinical and business intelligence (up from ninth last year)
  5. Clinical informatics and clinician engagement (also ranked fifth last year)
 
As more issues battle for center stage, however, the money to address them may be hard to find. Some 43 percent of the respondents said they expect their IT operating budgets to decrease this year. Another 21 percent said they expect their budgets to be about the same. Only 24 percent said they expect to get a bump in their budgets to spend on their expanding health IT needs.
 
Meanwhile, extra manpower has been difficult to procure. Some 22 percent said their health IT workforce is smaller this year compared with 17 percent who expressed the same sentiment last year. Some 28 percent said the size of their health IT staff is the same this year compared with 17 percent last year. And 37 percent said they their ranks grew this year compared with 53 percent last year.
 
Overall, 51 percent of the respondents said their workforce challenges will have a negative impact on pursuing their health IT priorities this year.
Newsletter Sign Up