5 health IT projects Sharp HealthCare CIO Ken Lawonn is excited for in 2019

Ken Lawonn, senior vice president and CIO at Sharp HealthCare in San Diego, shares the projects he's most excited for in 2019, including the health system's new colocation data center and additions to its enterprise analytics area.

Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What does your health IT budget look like this year? Is it trending up or down over previous years? 

Ken Lawonn: Our IT budget for 2019 is running at around 3.5 percent of operating expense, which is consistent with previous years.

We are definitely spending more than last year with additional [full-time equivalent] staff and new systems being implemented as well as investments in areas such as analytics, security and digital.

Q: How are you allocating the budget? What difference is there this year compared to previous years? 

KL: Overall, the budget is allocated similar to previous years with staffing and benefits being about 50 percent of costs. We are seeing an increase in software as a service as more systems are moving to cloud or application service provider models.

This year, more spending is going toward software as a service, analytics, information security and mobile development. There is a slight reduction as a percentage in supplies and maintenance compared to previous years.

Q: What projects are you most excited about for 2019?
KL: I am most excited for the following projects:

• Completing our move to a new colocation data center, which has allowed us to improve our infrastructure and security environment
• Implementing a logical data warehouse infrastructure, data virtualization, big data capabilities, and predictive analytics in our enterprise analytics area
• Implementing a new oncology system to support our physician orders and infusion centers
• Implementing a mobile message and alerting system for our nurses and physicians
• Beginning the implementation of an enhanced identity and access management program

To learn more about clinical and IT leadership, register for the Becker's Hospital Review 2nd Annual Health IT + Clinical Leadership Conference May 2-4, 2019 in Chicago. Click here to learn more and register.

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