Survey: Watch for these 9 health IT trends in 2017

Black Book's end-of-year survey of C-suite executives revealed nine healthcare IT trends to keep an eye on in the new year.

Overall, the survey showed 82 percent of CIOs, 91 percent of CFOs and 83 percent of CEOs believe it is time to improve their organization's technology.

Here are the nine trends to watch for in what Black Book calls "the new year of uncertainty."

1. Technology budgets will remain flat and purchases in the second quarter will be based on existing business needs. Approximately 77 percent of hospital IT purchasers surveyed believe the first two quarters of 2017 will see slow IT spending and staffing.

2. Electronic data warehouses will become more of a priority. Ninety percent of CIOs surveyed said they'll likely address their organization's data warehousing and storage issues during the first two quarters of 2017. Eighty-one percent of CIOs plan to begin restructuring their databases in the new year.

3. Enterprise resource planning systems will become more important again. While 85 percent of hospitals with less than 200 beds said they've underinvested in ERP systems, 93 percent of CFOs said price transparency and improved value-based care initiatives can't be accomplished without ERP.

4. Fiscally stable providers are will spend even more on interoperability while less stable systems will not. Around 88 percent of CIOs of hospitals with more than 100 beds and decreasing margins said they won't take on interoperability measures due to decreased funding.

5. Providers will wait to improve their cyber defense until larger systems experience cyber attacks. Ninety-five percent of hospitals with more than 200 beds are bracing for data breaches in 2017.

6. The hype around the cloud will die down. Of the CIOs surveyed, approximately 55 percent feel self-assured in their organization's cloud application strategies. Still, 83 percent of healthcare enterprises haven't invested in cloud storage for disaster recovery, and 64 percent of hospital IT leaders who have invested in a disaster recovery plan don't understand what it covers.

7. There will be an intensified focus on front-end office functions and RCM outsourcing will increase. Approximately 82 percent of CFOs of hospitals with less than 300 beds plan on reworking their RCM strategies in the first two quarters of 2017.

8. Finding skilled healthcare technology staff will continue to be a challenge. Although almost 66 percent of survey respondents claimed they don't expect IT staffing levels to change in the new year, CIOs continue to reach out to recruiters and offer competitive salaries for IT employees.

9. While an interest in precision medicine persists, few healthcare organizations have plans to invest in precision medicine initiatives next year. Black Book claims organizations should focus on addressing the first eight trends before focusing on precision medicine initiatives.

More articles on health IT:
Patient flow command centers, artificial intelligence and more: GE Healthcare's chief digital officer on the future of digital care
ONC releases 2017 Interoperability Standards Advisory
Survey: State medical boards identify telemedicine as top regulatory issue of 2016 

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