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Healthcare Regulatory Mandates Dictate IT Decision Making, Exceed IT Administrators’ Skill Sets, Study Finds

February 18, 2015

CHARLOTTE, NC (February 18, 2015) – Three out of five healthcare IT professionals believe that government mandates are having a negative effect on their industry, according to study conducted by Peak 10, a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider. The majority (94 percent) also noted that complying with regulations influences IT strategy and decision-making. With rare exception, respondents claimed they lack the expertise necessary to navigate the maze of government regulations.

These were among the key findings in The Peak 10 National IT Trends in Healthcare Study in which C-level executives and information technology professionals at 149 U.S. healthcare organizations were asked to provide their insights into industry challenges and the future state of the healthcare industry.

From an IT perspective, healthcare is under tremendous pressure to make non-revenue producing investments and to divert scarce resources away from innovation and new application development. According to the study, cost cutting and cost containment are also cause for concern for healthcare organizations and exacerbated by the fact that many IT departments are already under-staffed and under-funded.

Other key findings from the study include:

  • Healthcare companies are cautiously but steadily moving into the cloud with Software as Service (SaaS) and non-mission critical workloads (administrative/corporate systems). Cloud adoption is mainly driven by regulatory mandates around Electronic Health Records (EHRs).
  • A 77% majority of hospitals, biotech firms, pharmaceuticals and insurance providers are seeking partners and assistance to help them maintain high reliability, while 70% of respondents said they need partners to assist with security and data privacy concerns.
  • Mobility, EHR, patient portals, and regulation are the critical technology topics that will make the greatest impact on healthcare IT environments.
  • Insurance organizations’ budgets are under the most pressure: a 59% majority indicated that their IT budgets would either decline (25%) or remain static (38%) over the next two years. By contrast only one-third – 34% – of insurance firms polled said IT budgets would increase over the next 24 months.
  • Presently, about 50% of IT healthcare companies surveyed indicated they use a third party integrator or partner to assist them with their IT strategy.
  • Among the 50% of healthcare IT companies that use a third party integrator/partner to assist with IT strategy, 70% cited depth of technical knowledge as the top reason. This was followed by 60% who indicated that third party partners alleviate the time and resource constraints on internal IT staff.

While the situation within healthcare IT organizations is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future, the results also indicate that technology is a critical part of their strategy for business success and patient satisfaction.

“Healthcare organizations need a smooth transition to electronic health record (EHR) systems,” says Christina Kyriazi, manager of market insights and analytics at Peak 10. “Technology is seen as the enabler to a better patient experience, giving patients more control over their personal information and healthcare history, therefore empowering them to trust their healthcare provider and to make more sound and well-informed decisions for themselves.”

U.S. government initiatives, such as the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program, were established to help move healthcare organizations forward on the technology front by providing EHR incentive payments to eligible professionals (EPs) and hospitals as they adopt, implement, upgrade, or demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology. Healthcare organizations are feeling the strain of implementing these systems with too few skilled resources, as government regulatory compliance mandates have already burdened their strained IT assets. At the same time, most must also ensure regulatory compliance while guaranteeing high reliability and strong security. Many are looking to third-party suppliers for assistance.

According to Allen Skipper, chief commercial officer for Peak 10, pressures from government, budgets and keeping up with evolving requirements, coupled with the heightened demand for technology to support the patient experience, translate to a critical need for knowledgeable IT partners to provide access to technology, while serving as a collaborative resource to ensure staff are versed in rapidly changing security mandates.

“It’s not enough for cloud and data center services providers to help customers maximize their IT assets,” said Skipper. “It’s critical for these partners to continually engage in initiatives to better understand the needs of today’s healthcare IT professionals now and in the future, driving innovation and enabling developments to further enhance patient care quality and safety.”

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Peak 10 operates data centers in 10 U.S. markets and serves a diverse range of customers in the U.S. and abroad. Learn more or download the complete National IT Trends in Healthcare report, visit http://www.peak10.com/special-report-new-study-shows-top-challenges-facing-it-healthcare-professionals/.

About The Peak 10 National IT Trends in Healthcare Study

Peak 10 conducted The Peak 10 National IT Trends in Healthcare study from March through December 2014. An online survey was sent to over 15,000 healthcare IT decision makers across the U.S. with 149 respondents completing the survey. A follow-up series of in-depth, one-on-one qualitative phone interviews was conducted with a dozen respondents. The results reflect current market conditions and healthcare IT market trends for the next two years as evidenced by statistics on data privacy and security breaches from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).

About Peak 10

Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored cloud computing, data center and other information technology (IT) infrastructure solutions and managed services, primarily for mid-market businesses. Peak 10 solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to increase agility, lower costs, improve performance and focus internal IT resources on their core competencies. Peak 10 holds the Cisco® Cloud Provider Certification with a Cisco Powered Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) designation. Peak 10 undergoes independent third-party examinations on an annual basis, and maintains compliance reports and certifications including SOC 1, SOC 2, SOC 3, PCI DSS, Safe Harbor and HIPAA.  Peak 10’s security controls are also leveraged by clients to help maintain compliance with FDA, FISMA, ITAR, as well as other compliance and security standards. For more information, visit www.peak10.com.

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About Peak 10

"Our values are the foundation for everything we do at Peak 10, and are ultimately what enable us to earn our customers' business and their trust."
David H. Jones,
Board Member, Peak 10 + ViaWest