More healthcare executives care about cybersecurity as we head into 2024, according to a new survey. This marks a significant shift in the priorities of health system executives towards cybersecurity and IT enhancements, according to the authors.
The 2024 Health System Digital & IT Investment Trends report reveals an average digital and IT budget increase of 18.3% from 2019 to 2023, with a notable focus on cybersecurity, electronic health record modernization, and advanced analytics.
IT Budgets on the Rise
According to the survey of 144 provider executives, primarily Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), health systems have observed an average increase of 18.3% in their digital and IT budgets over the past four years.
Notably, 2024 will see more than 85% of health systems further increase their digital and IT allocations, with nearly half expecting moderate to substantial growth.
Cybersecurity Tops Investment Priorities
Cybersecurity emerges as the top investment priority for 55% of the surveyed executives, followed by electronic health record modernization (46%), digital care (32%), and advancements in analytics, AI, and machine learning (31%).
This shift underscores a growing concern for protecting patient data and enhancing the overall digital infrastructure of healthcare systems, the authors said.
Operational Efficiency and Patient Satisfaction
The Guidehouse analysis also highlights a focus on enhancing patient and provider satisfaction through operational efficiencies and improved consumer experiences. Over half of the providers are augmenting their budgets to meet these goals, responding to direct feedback from patients and providers.
Adapting to Strategic Needs
A significant 70% of healthcare providers have restructured their digital and IT decision-making processes since 2019, aiming for more strategic investment decisions. Notably, a third of the respondents are expanding or initiating new relationships with outsourcing organizations to leverage non-core functions for improved efficiency and access to advanced technologies.
Matt Onesko, Partner, Guidehouse, commented:
"As health systems continue to face cybersecurity threats and operational complexities, investments that strengthen and harden their cybersecurity posture, and technology capabilities that drive both efficiencies and financial resiliency across service lines, are critical. Success in 2024 and beyond demands investment strategies that are rooted in pragmatic goals to generate meaningful and measurable returns."