Health IT budgets growing, mainly due to analytics and security

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Forty percent of healthcare providers report that their IT budgets are still growing but only 25 percent said the budget growth is due to EHRs, according to research from ICD Health Insights.

Those figures provide evidence that "the post-EHR era is upon us as providers turn to optimizing the business for accountable care, adding analytics and care management, and away from massive enterprise EHR projects," according to the research firm.

The 2015–2016 Healthcare Provider Technology Spend Survey examined technology spending and planned technology spending by U.S. acute care hospitals with 200 or more beds. The hospitals overwhelmingly reported confidence in their ability to manage Meaningful Use but less confidence in their ability to manage other healthcare reform requirements.

Additional key findings include the following:

  • Providers are taking advantage of more cloud implementations and leveraging mobile and analytics capabilities in the cloud. While 50 percent of software spending growth is still directed toward on-premise investments, survey respondents reported that 18 percent of new software spending is going into SaaS and 24 percent is going into projects that leverage managed hosting by a third party.
  • Comfort levels with cloud are growing. Across all hospitals, 30 percent of the respondents said they were comfortable with cloud in 2014, while an additional 41.5 percent respondents said they were more comfortable with cloud in 2015 than they were in 2014.
  • The top reasons for budget growth included analytics, patient engagement, customer relationship management and security.
  • Cybersecurity is one of the new growth areas in the provider IT budget, and this growth is expected to continue in 2016. Threats are top of mind, but the increased availability of resources for IT security is allowing providers to begin to implement strategies to secure data and networks. Top priorities included focusing on security in the cloud, monitoring the environment and controlling shadow IT.
  • Analytics spending continues to grow, and big data is here to stay. Ongoing investment in ACOs, clinical care and quality will continue in 2016, but hot areas of new analytics investment also include provider and care team performance analytics, as well as analytics that examine referral patterns and other financial analytics areas.