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Delivering Digital

Majority of U.S. Healthcare Providers Rank Themselves as Digital Laggards

Clinician resistance and interoperability of legacy systems with digital technologies cited as the top reasons

While the future of healthcare may be looking increasingly digital and data-driven, most healthcare providers are not coming along for the ride.

According to a recent study conducted by Unisys and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), a full two-thirds of U.S. healthcare providers rate themselves as being behind the digital curve.

The reasons? Survey respondents cited clinician resistance and interoperability of legacy systems with digital and mobile technologies as the top reasons. Other prevalent reasons cited were low availability of skilled IT staff and the identification/remediation of cybersecurity threats.

The results are based on a survey of 220 IT decision makers at U.S. hospitals and health systems. They were asked to rank their organization based on how they are leveraging digital and mobile technologies to improve the patient experience, lower the cost of care delivery, and improve clinician and staff efficiencies.

Only 11 percent of organizations were rated as early adopters when it came to adoption and implementation of digital technologies.

This survey also examined vital initiatives underway in organizations that digital health technologies support. Interestingly, only 16 percent of laggards had a comprehensive data governance plan, and just nine percent of laggards believe their organization can apply data to determine the best course of action. However, 83 percent and 78 percent of early adopters have, respectively a data governance plan and believe they can make better data-driven decisions. Only 13 percent of laggards believe their medical devices can securely communicate with electronic health records.

As Digirupt recently covered, the healthcare industry is ripe for transformation, and yet digital progress remains slow. It’s not for lack of healthcare executive desire. A Bain Digital Insights survey from 2018 found that 50 percent of medtech executives said digital is a top priority and that 80 percent are confident they will achieve their digital goals, but yet less than five percent of respondents met the digital goals they’d previously set.

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