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Budget Restrictions Major Health IT Infrastructure Obstacle

Data and analytics may be the most popular health IT infrastructure technology of 2018, but restricted IT budgets and legacy systems may slow down the adoption process.

health IT infrastructure

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Organizations are preparing their IT infrastructures for increased spending on emerging advanced tools. These tools are data intensive and need robust and flexible health IT infrastructure to support heavier workloads.

Data and analytics are expected to drive health IT infrastructure spending over the next year, according to a Damointel report. The transition to value-based care requires healthcare organizations to modernize their IT infrastructure to support tools that will increase workflow and improve patient care.

Value-based care is the number one driver of health IT growth with data and analytics as the biggest spend category, the report found. The increasing focus on AI and cognitive computing in unlocking insights to drive improved healthcare delivery are key in data and analytics spending, according to report authors.

While value-based care is expected to be the biggest driver in health IT spending in 2018, other categories are also expected to influence spending.

Respondents were instructed to choose two areas of increased spending. Value-based care (60 percent) was followed closely by patient engagement and care management (58 percent) and enterprise digital transformation (47 percent) for investment areas.

Cybersecurity and ransomware (39 percent) and population health management (28 percent) are also expected to see an increase in spending.

Organizations are expected to increase spending on technology that will help support these goals.

Respondents selected three technology areas they expected to increase spending on, with data and analytics (76 percent) the top choice. AI/ cognitive computing (47 percent), healthcare applications (47 percent), data health applications (44 percent), and interoperability (36 percent) followed behind.

Cloud migration (21 percent), Internet of Things (IoT) (18 percent), EHRs (16 percent), automation (16 percent), and blockchain (13 percent), all had moderate interest as well.

Although there is significant interest in these technologies to support value-based care and other healthcare initiatives, there are obstacles many organizations will face before they can implement these technologies.

An organization’s readiness for new technologies (60 percent) was the biggest deterrent for implementing advanced technologies solutions. Entities need to make sure that their existing IT infrastructure can accept and cohesively work with more advanced implementations.

This concern ties in with the next biggest obstacle: interoperability challenges (50 percent).

Organizations are also concerned with unproven ROI on new IT solutions (47 percent) and the cost of maintaining their existing technology investments (34 percent).

Each of these obstacles stem from financial concerns. Organizations need to spend money to make sure their IT infrastructure is ready to handle more advanced technology. This includes upgrading dated wireless networks to accommodate increased data flow, and expanding data storage solutions both on-premises and in the cloud.

Entities also need to make sure that the technology they’re investing in will work with their existing IT systems. Failing to do so can result in more money being spent to fix interoperability issues.

Unproven ROI can also make it hard to justify investing in these technologies. Organizations can’t afford to lose money on technology that is meant to improve efficiency.

Entities also need to consider what they are already spending on with regard to managing and maintaining existing IT infrastructure solutions. Advancing technology is critical to support value-based care initiatives but many organizations are unable to break their budgets for new tools when they already have tools requiring oversight.

Budget restrictions are a significant obstacle for health IT infrastructure spending. However, this does not negate the need to invest in advanced technology, the report concluded. Healthcare organizations are still expected to increase their adoption of IT infrastructure tools that support value-based care. 

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