According to CHIME, “The annual CHIME Digital Health Most Wired (DHMW) survey program offers essential insights into how healthcare organizations (HCOs) worldwide are using healthcare information technologies (HIT) and practices. Widely known for the annual Digital Health Most Wired recognition awards, the DHMW survey program aims to support healthcare leaders’ decision making by providing robust benchmarking and trending profiles of digital health usage in HCOs, all the while encouraging HIT adoption via DHMW Level designations.”
Having reviewed the report, here are our three takeaways:
When it comes to IT budgets things are beginning to stabilize back to pre-pandemic levels. The primary focus of IT spending before COVID was regulatory requirements along with value-based care and improving outcomes. The pandemic shifted spending to remote technologies, cost reductions, and revenue producing initiatives. Budgets jumped and IT spending increased. Now, with tight margins and pandemic spending done, IT budgets are stabilizing and shifting back to pre-pandemic levels.According to the report, ”Recent interviews by KLAS Research with approximately 300 HCOs across diverse settings and sizes support this claim. KLAS findings reveal most interviewees plan to increase their HIT spend over the next one or two years as technology remains a critical component of their strategy to address labor shortages, wage inflation, and reduced margins. Still under enormous financial pressures, IT leaders are weighing their options carefully and looking to adopt solutions that have clear, measurable ROIs. These indicators collectively suggest a trajectory of slow yet steady progress and adaptation in the healthcare industry.”
Workforce challenges continue to plague healthcare. Overall healthcare costs continue to be high in part because of staffing problems. A recent CDC report showed that burnout is still very high at healthcare facilities and turnover also remains high. The use of travelers and locums increases costs. As a result, there is a priority in IT to help address these issues and IT budgets are being directly to those solutions. “In response, organizations are increasingly turning to technology to mitigate staffing dependencies, citing its potential to automate tasks or ensure efficient utilization of staff through predictive analytics models. Some of the software solutions expected to alleviate staffing challenges include tools for patient self-scheduling, IT task automation (e.g., ticketing), scheduling, revenue cycle automation, ambient speech, release of information, remote patient monitoring and EHR optimization and automation,” said the report.
Healthcare is embracing data usage and analytics. According to the report, “Striking a delicate balance between financial stability and allocating resources for IT support hasbecome a critical concern. Consequently, many organizations are placing a heightened emphasis on leveraging tools to identify areas of excessive spend, optimize staff utilization and adopt a data-driven approach to strategically decide where to invest.” Data can play a crucial role in helping organizations direct and monitor their spend and resources.