4 IT Expenses Healthcare Entities Plan to Increase for 2017

NetgainCloud Computing, Cybersecurity & Compliance, Healthcare IT

It’s that time of year again – budgeting. Some administrators dread budgeting, while others love planning and dreaming of next year’s possibilities. No matter the group you fall in to, it’s time. To help you in the process, we’re outlining the key areas that healthcare technology spending is projected to increase in 2017.

About 40 percent of healthcare providers expect their IT budgets to expand in 2016, according to a report from IDC Health Insights, a leader in healthcare research and consulting. Only 25 percent of these providers attribute the growth to EHRs. So what is the growing budget attributed to?

Here are four areas where healthcare IT spend is increasing:

1. Cybersecurity
Compliance and breach, both data and security, continue to be top-of-mind for healthcare IT professionals. Experiencing a loss, theft or breach of data not only causes significant financial implications, but is also damaging to healthcare organization’s brand and reputation.

With more cyber-attacks than ever in 2016, the threat is real. In a higher profile case earlier this year, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center paid hackers a $17,000 ransom to unlock its electronic health record system.

Points of vulnerability continue to grow with mobile devices, laptops and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies.

In 2017, healthcare organizations need to invest in the tools and people to be more proactive in reducing their risks and securing all layers of their IT environment.

2. Cloud Implementation
Successful cloud adoption at every practice size and specialty has built credibility and momentum in cloud services. Healthcare continues to aggressively adopt the cloud in various ways.

With cloud models that accommodate just about every plausible pain, many practices will move part or all of their IT workload to the cloud for the first time in 2017. Other practices who have experienced the benefits of the cloud will move more of their workload to the cloud.

As cloud computing spend in the healthcare industry continues to grow, the practices themselves typically see a more stable and predictable IT spend with the implementation of cloud computing.

3. Analytics
Healthcare organizations are starting to see the benefits of big data, though utilization is still in its infancy. Big Data is here to stay, proven by increased budget allocation for the last several years. 2017 will be no different.

In 2017, practices will increase investments in staff, software, storage and evaluation of data collected through these initiatives.

4. Patient Engagement
Patients, especially millennials, are demanding more involvement in their healthcare. Taught to be their own advocates, patients want to be engaged in their healthcare decision-making process.

That’s leading healthcare practices to invest more in patient portals, social media, wearables and mobile interfaces. This landscape is changing quickly and being adopted at an equally rapid pace.

Healthcare organizations are willingly dedicating more resources, believing greater patient engagement will contribute to improved health outcomes.

So, where do you start? If you’re overwhelmed, here are a couple of budgeting tips to help you through the process:

• Create an IT roadmap to help identify your IT priorities.
• Align your IT strategies with your practice’s overall goals.
• Know your total cost of ownership (TCO) as you evaluate significant IT changes. Consider all cost-centers such as staffing, infrastructure and security.
• Understand your cost-centers – staffing, infrastructure and security.
• Identify what costs can be reduced or eliminated by implementing new technologies. Doing this will help stabilize your budget.

While budgeting can be tedious, it can also be a valuable exercise in planning and strategy. At the rate healthcare IT is changing, continual evaluation of new technologies is vital to the success and growth of your practice. In what areas will your budget increase in 2017?