Blog- more hospitals adopt a value-based care system,

 

Blog- The Top 3 concerns of Hospital
CIOs

Introduction

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The role of CIOs in the healthcare industry has evolved
rapidly in the last few years as the healthcare industry is undergoing radical
changes in technology. They are now looked upon as the changemakers in the
industry and are responsible for incorporating new technology. Today’s CIOs must
be competent to deal with daily challenges of working with healthcare issues, budget
constraints, staff shortage, and public health regulations, and must be quick
to respond to new initiatives and challenges that face the hospital. There is
no wonder that CIOs in the healthcare industry have probably the busiest,
hardest, and the most stressed jobs today.

This blog addresses the top three concerns for the hospital
CIOs.

 

Optimizing IT systems

Most hospitals have made huge investments in EHRs and IT
systems to improve patient care. Hospitals authorities are overwhelmed with patient
data, but outdated technologies and the lack of interoperability between
healthcare IT systems make efforts to tap into this data a daunting task. As more
and more hospitals adopt a value-based care system, where reimbursement is
directly tied to the quality of patient care, hospitals must update their IT infrastructure
so they can be more proactive about managing their patient populations. This is
where EHR systems help. CIOs are responsible rolling out EHR systems, and also
maintaining and optimizing the systems in response to inputs from health
providers. Hence, the topmost priority on the minds of most of the CIO’s is to
get the most out of their EHR solutions. In recent years, EHRs have evolved from
just being electronic versions of medical records to offering multiple services
to various departments, such as better clinical decision support systems,
user-portals for patients, and bill generation systems. The EHR data is also
linked to administrative and billing functions to automate the revenue cycle.
EHRs are being used by other departments to provide expert-based guidance and
personalized medicine. As all these functions directly impact a hospital’s revenue
and profits, it is very critical to ensure that the EHR systems are utilized to
their maximum capabilities to maximize ROI.

 

Managing
Cybersecurity

Another major concern is to ensure better security and
interoperability. Time and again, security experts highlight breaches in
healthcare and ways in which a hospital should prepare to respond and recover
from cyber-attacks.  Patient health
records contain a lot of sensitive information, such as credit card details,
e-mail addresses, social security numbers, employment information, and medical history
records. This information could be used by cyber-criminals to launch phishing
attacks, commit fraud and steal medical identities.

Hospitals need to be highly vigilant and must develop ways
to strengthen their security infrastructure to detect potential cyber-attacks.
They must have stronger backup and recovery capabilities for all their records.
According to US Cybersecurity Report and Becker’s Health IT & CIO Review,
the healthcare industry is most vulnerable to cyber-attacks and unfortunately,
it is least prepared and has the weakest infrastructure to safeguard itself
from such attacks. This is because most hospitals have a very low budget of
less than 10 percent towards cybersecurity. Whereas a cyber-attack could cost
average hospital a whopping 3.5 million dollars. Reports also suggest that over
77% of healthcare organizations have been infected with malware since August
2015. Moreover, cyber-attacks can bring down a hospital’s credit ratings. In
recent times, CIOs and CISOs of hospitals have reported increased budgets for
cybersecurity but are still struggling to have the right tools and staff in
place to address the problem.

 

Bridging the talent
gap

Healthcare organizations need a Patient-Centric workforce of
highly skilled people -doctors, nurses, medical assistants, practice managers, support
specialists, technicians, analysts, receptionists, administrators, and IT
experts. Due to advancements in technology, life expectancy has increased resulting
in an increase in aging population and a consequent increase in the demand for
more hospitals, clinics, physicians and healthcare professionals. Additionally,
due to digitization and mobile health technology, there is an increasing demand
for healthcare professionals and experts who also have a good knowledge of IT. The
third biggest concern for CIOs is to induct qualified talent and have a fully
staffed department. In most cases, it becomes difficult to run a department
with underqualified staff and many a times patient care suffers due to a
shortage of staffing.

There is a serious shortage of both primary care and
specialist physicians. Added to this shortage is the budget crunch to offer
competitive salaries to the retain good talent. CIOs have to be creative enough
to attract and retain talent

 

Conclusion

The healthcare industry is probably one of the few
industries that face multiple IT challenges where government mandates, stringent
security requirements and a need to replace outdated technology make a CIO’s
job difficult. Healthcare CIOs must strike a balance between all these factors
while at the same time deal with tight budgets and the shortage of IT talent
amid the political firestorm to reform healthcare in general.