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HIT infrastructure Advancements Challenged by Internal Support

HIT infrastructure advancements depend on internal support and what c-level executives can justify as far as cost and maintenance.

HIT infrastructure advancements depend on

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By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Healthcare organizations are eager to implement HIT infrastructure advancements, but are often unable to adopt the technology as quickly as they would like. This often happens because current infrastructure does not support it or organizations can’t get the support needed from C-level executives who need to justify high cost upfront implementations.

Organizations looking to cut back on costs over time and adhere to value-based care initiatives are looking into adopting advanced infrastructure technology to streamline workflows and give clinicians a better and more complete view of patient data.

Entities are also migrating data to the cloud as more information is collected by connected medical and IoT devices for analytics purposes.

However, many legacy IT systems – including storage and wireless networks – cannot handle the additional workloads advanced IT systems bring with them. This causes organizations to rebuild and rework their infrastructure foundation to move forward and support future healthcare technological advancements.

A recent ABI Research report found that the rise in care delivery costs calls for IT infrastructure modernization to cut costs as well as adhere to government demands for PHI.

ABI Research polled 50 healthcare companies and discovered that entities are less concerned with government incentives as far as adopting advanced technology goes, and are more concerned with internally supporting smart health initiatives.

"Our survey revealed that U.S. healthcare is clearly interested and investigating a range of emerging technologies, but significant concern regarding implementation stems not from regulatory demands but from complexity and institutional inertia," ABI Research Research Director Jonathan Collins said in a statement. "Healthcare organizations face a raft of issues in adopting new technologies that stem from a lack of support and understanding both from within their organizations but also from technology suppliers."

Although many organizations face obstacles, 76 percent of healthcare organizations expressed a high level of interest and intent to embrace more advanced technology, according to the survey.

Survey authors said plans for building a modern health IT infrastructure to support smart health adoption is still being blocked as organizations seek support from executives.

"The survey highlights a substantial market being held back because CTOs and their staff cannot win the kind of backing to support for their efforts," said Collins. "While these organizations favor developing projects internally, they need telecom providers and systems integrators to provide the expertise and experience to not only deploy new technology but provide the use case and ROI details to win internal support for technology projects that will improve the cost and the quality of healthcare."

Most advanced health IT systems require a large initial investment before organizations will see an ROI. While the track record is good in most cases, upgrading systems is a large undertaking and can sometimes be hard for CIOs to justify.

For example, virtualization is a newer health IT infrastructure tool that has tremendous ROI potential, but can be costly to implement.

A Red Hat survey conducted late last year identified cost as the biggest benefit and drawback of virtualization.

Survey respondents named cost and management to be the two biggest challenges for virtual deployments. Cost was also an incentive and a drawback for virtualization.

“Though it might seem odd for cost to be both a benefit and a challenge, it’s all about context - in the long run, virtualization can save enterprises money,” Red Hat analysts explained. “But getting there takes money, and this may be especially true with proprietary software, licenses and extensive consulting services required for some implementations.”

Health IT infrastructure advancement is a reality for future health IT systems. However, executives are faced with challenging decisions on which part of the infrastructure needs to be upgraded first. Entities must also analyze the risk of replacing legacy systems that are proven to work for with more advanced solutions.

Executives need to be sure that newly implemented technology will be future-proof enough to prevent further upgrades for the foreseeable future.