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The Future of the Healthcare IT Department

Doctor typing on a laptop computer
May 17, 2016
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Undertakings of the Healthcare CIO

Healthcare CIOs have a sunrise to sunset role, and not enough hours in the day to keep up with demands of their own organizations. Executive pressure based on patient outcomes, strategic direction and overall patient satisfaction are all stress-ridden inputs. The changing business model of hospitals and a chronic problem with under-staffed and under-funded IT organizations are additional common difficulties to be grappled with. On top of internal and operational job functions, CIOs have to keep up with technology innovation, stay compliant with changing regulations and remain alert of the newest security threats.

Furthermore, the complexity and demands of industry-changing healthcare IT initiatives are requiring more resources. Growing budgets, the need to employ big data, integrate the Internet of Things (IoT) and respond to the constant demand for real-time health information are impetuses for a changing healthcare IT department. Needs are shifting, and the creation of new IT roles and a greater propensity toward outsourcing are becoming routine.

Peak 10 recently conducted The Peak 10 2nd National IT Trends in Healthcare Study. Results demonstrated that IT is having a greater impact on healthcare as a whole, especially where practices such as big data analytics are concerned, and new positions are being created to accommodate.

What’s Really Changing? The Hard Facts:

To put it simply, more complexity means more demands, which requires more resources. Practice areas such as big data and analytics are now critical to making intelligent business decisions for the future, but are quickly becoming a subject more complex than human beings can reasonably handle without the proper means.

The study revealed the following trends related to the changing healthcare IT department:

  • Healthcare CIOs are balancing many initiatives. EMR/EHR migrations, integrations and applications implementations are at the top of the list.
  • New roles have been created to deal with the change. Analysts, Data Managers, Security Czars and Engineering resources are all in demand.
  • Budgets are growing, and that growth has accelerated in the last two years.
  • Key IT trends expected to affect the patient experience in the next two to five years include mobility, patient portals, telemedicine, EHRs, interoperability, cloud and analytics.

A majority of 66% of survey respondents have created new IT roles in the last 24 months. New positions include:

Big Data Analytics Engineering Security Analyst(s)
  • Data governance leader
  • Data warehouse manager
  • Data Scientist
  • Analytics VP/Director
  • Business Intelligence (BI) Developer/Analyst
  • Application Delivery Engineer
  • Application Analyst
  • Chief Applications Officer
  • CISO
  • Security Manager/Engineer
  • Security Czar
  • Analytics VP/Director
  • BI Developer
  • BI Analyst

The good news for healthcare IT departments is that budgets are on the rise. 67% of survey participants have increasing budgets for IT—a 16% increase since 2014.

Data Analysts and Statisticians are making way for artificial intelligences and machine learning to analyze enormous amounts of data and develop correlations between complex data sets, giving healthcare systems the ability to make predictions for a wide array of business decisions, from what staffing areas will need to expand to when the flu is most likely to emerge at different facilities. The ubiquity of these deep pattern analyses will require more expertise in artificial intelligences and machine learning systems.

More Healthcare IT Insights:

The Peak 10 2nd National IT Trends in Healthcare Study yielded considerable information around the future of IT. The study also generated insights across all IT practices areas. Learn more here.

We welcome you to explore the Peak 10 Industry Spotlight: Healthcare IT website. On the site, you will find a volume of healthcare content based on the study.

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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