The Stoltenberg Blog

Healthcare technology insights for competitive value-based care strategy

A Hospital Executive's Guide to 2020 HIT Industry Outlook Report Data Trends

Stoltenberg Consulting recently released the 2020 Health IT Industry Outlook Report to shed light on new leadership insights as healthcare facilities navigate their next steps against COVID-19 era operational pressures. Today, we'll break down a few key healthcare technology data trends that have culminated into a cycle of IT program imbalances amid the turbulence.

  • Biggest operational burden: According to the survey, 42 percent of healthcare industry respondents identified "retaining and budgeting for qualified IT resources" as their organizations' biggest operational burden, followed by "IT service failures (i.e., system downtimes or cybersecurity hits)" at 24%, and "provider burnout or inefficiency from EHR frustration" at 21%. In the continued aftermath of COVID-19's financial impact, the resource strain is even more prevalent after most healthcare facilities across the country have slashed IT budgets, halted new hiring, and made tough furlough, staffing shuffle, and even permanent layoff decisions.

  • Financial aftermath preparedness: Amplifying the previous concern, the survey found that one-third of healthcare organizations feel unprepared for the COVID-19 financial aftermath. As hospital leaders seek vital cost savings, IT system and user support span is thinning. IT departments are being tasked with making million-dollar budget cuts across the board as they seek justification for all current IT investments.

  • The IT support strain cycle: Amid the need for IT budget cuts, with priority COVID-19 population health demands, advancing consumer-driven patient engagement expectations, and pandemic-era workforce and workplace adjustments, there is a higher dependency than ever on the health system IT infrastructure, along with clinician and patient support, to keep up. With skyrocketed IT support demand met with further resource strain, a complicated cycle of misalignment emerges for struggling health systems.

  • Service desk support depth: When asked for the top IT area they desired stronger support, HIT Outlook survey respondents were almost even in their desire for greater depth in "applicable data analytics insights" (34%) and "the IT help desk" (32%). A clinically focused, EHR-trained IT service desk is a smart way to not only address growing end-user support demand, but also drive IT tickets down over time because of its greater depth of issue-type resolution. Further, by assessing service desk real-time data trends, analysts can better predict and mitigate specific department or hospital shift end-user education, workflow, or access issues to enable care efficiency.

  • IT support program flexibility: 2020's turbulence highlights the distinct need for IT staffing flexibility. From juggling remote access support, to keeping up with facility acquisition EHR go lives or new version upgrades, IT departments must have quality resources that ebb and flow. One way to cost-effectively reduce resource strain is through a targeted outsourcing strategy with IT partners who can deliver a flexible yet reliable IT program on demand. Because these cross-trained rapid response resources can flex and adjust support from Tier 1 to Tier 3 as needed, hospitals avoid costly internal onboarding and system training of higher expense resources. The program locks in support cost consistency with quicker, more thorough resolution, freeing up internal staff for priority projects while giving clinicians back more time for revenue-generating direct clinical care interactions.

By utilizing these 2020 Health IT Industry Outlook Report data insights, healthcare executives can strategize their IT program approach for support that better optimizes their significant EHR system investments. Stay tuned for additional leadership feedback and best practices.


Stay Ahead of Healthcare Industry Turbulence

For a complete look at the new 2020 HIT Outlook Report
and analysis, click now.