Survey: 81 Percent of Healthcare CIOs Cite Data Security as Top Priority

Nov. 1, 2016
Eighty-one percent of CIOs surveyed said that strengthening data security was their top business goal for the next 18 months, ahead of increasing patient satisfaction (70 percent) and improving physician satisfaction (65 percent), according to survey findings released by Spok.

Eighty-one percent of CIOs surveyed said that strengthening data security was their top business goal for the next 18 months, ahead of increasing patient satisfaction (70 percent) and improving physician satisfaction (65 percent), according to survey findings resulted by Spok.

For the survey, which was administered by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), 100 healthcare CIOS were polled about the progress of their mobility strategy planning, big-picture goals, the use-cases driving their mobile app selections, and which common workflows they are focused on improving. The survey by enterprise communications vendor Spok was designed to identify the business goals and technology drivers of mobile workflow investments in hospitals across the country as well as adoption rates of mobile communications.

With regard to business goals that are top-of-mind, following the top three, CIOs also cited complying with federal regulations/keeping up with ongoing changes, maximizing electronic health record (EHR) integrations with other hospital systems and standardizing technology (within hospitals and across systems, all at 44 percent. Thirty-one percent of respondents cited integrating hospital communication systems so they can share information as the seventh highest business goal.

When making communications-related technology investment decisions, healthcare CIO respondents cited the ability for technologies to best meet clinician/organizational needs as the most important factor, as it was chosen by 82 percent respondents. Eighty percent of respondents cited “ease of use for end user such as a physician or nurse,” as an important factor in the decision process. The ability for technologies to integrate with current systems, such as EHR systems, ranked third with 75 percent of respondents citing this as a factor in the decision-making process.

CIOs frequently look for tools and technologies to improve workflows. When asked which workflows within their hospital or health system were top of mind to support with better tools, 67 percent noted “care team coordination for treatment planning” The next three workflows cited relate to patient processing—48 percent cited patient discharge, 46 percent noted patient handoffs within hospitals and 40 percent cited patient handoffs between health services and facilities.

When asked specifically what technology use cases are driving their mobile application deployments, these executives cited secure messaging/communication capabilities as a top priority (84 percent), followed very closely by EHR access and integration (83 percent).

Sixty eight percent of survey respondents said that implementing secure text messaging is an active project, and 53 percent have an enterprise mobility management, or EMM, solution to further enhance patient data security on mobile devices.

The technology leaders responding to the survey also were polled about how they would describe their EMM solution deployment. Sixteen percent said their EMM solution is being piloted with select groups of employees, 43 percent reported that one is currently being deployed, 14 percent said that it is deployed enterprise-wide with little to modest adoption, and 27 percent reported that they are in a mature phase with the solution deployed across the enterprise and extensively adopted. What are they using the EMM solution for? Ninety-one percent said it is for securing data on devices and 70 percent use their EMM for application and content deployment, saving time for IT during new deployments, patches, and upgrades.

When polled about reasons or constraints for not using an EMM, about half cited cost or available budget as a constraint, and 44 percent said they lack the resources to plan, test, and implement this technology.

Drilling down into communications-related technology, respondents were asked specifically about hospital system integrations with the communications infrastructure. The most common integration reported by survey participants is with the EHR (73 percent). Secure text messaging, at 54 percent, is second on the list of communication system integrations. “In this case, respondents were most likely interpreting the technology as being a stand-alone messaging application and not extending beyond person-to-person use cases to integrations with other systems, which were separately ranked for integrations with the communication infrastructure,” the report authors wrote.

These other technologies were ranked as follows: emergency response (36 percent), patient monitoring (36 percent), critical test results (31 percent), bed management (31 percent), staff contact directory (30 percent), operator console (29 percent), and on-call scheduling (26 percent).

The CIO survey respondents cited physician adoption as both the primary challenge (60 percent) and the primary success measure (78 percent) for secure text messaging solution rollouts. An increase in user satisfaction were chosen by 63 percent of respondents as a success measure for secure text messaging solution implementations.

When survey participants were asked specifically why physicians were resistant to adopting a specific secure text messaging app, 44 percent said their doctors preferred a consumer app, 35 percent were frustrated with the chosen app, 29 percent had reservations about their personal privacy in ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) scenarios, and 24 percent still preferred pagers. “The first two challenges are closely related; physicians have smartphones for personal use and have exposure to user-friendly consumer technologies. This sets an expectation for hospital-approved messaging apps to offer the same simplicity, and there is frustration when they don’t mimic the same features and capabilities,” the report authors wrote.

The survey findings also measured the level of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) participation IT experts support within their organizations. According to the survey, 41 percent have enterprise-wide BYOD programs allowing all employees and staff to participate, while 44 percent say only certain groups of employees or staff can participate. And, in a breakdown on which groups are permitted to use their personal devices, the survey results indicate that BYOD is allowed for physicians 85 percent of the time, administrators 72 percent, IT staff 63 percent, and nursing staff 17 percent.

CIO respondents also were asked which topics would be the most important three years from now. Patient-centered care and EHR integrations top the list at 29 and 21 percent, respectively. Additionally, 18 percent cited “business intelligence” and 13 percent noted “telemedicine” and “mHealth” as their predictions for the most important topic in three years. Only 7 percent of respondents cited artificial intelligence.

The report authors concluded, “The challenge for IT leadership is to promote solutions that offer multiple advantages to help entice adoption —multi-purpose tools that can save physicians time, enhance patient safety, make existing workflows easier, and more. And leaders are balancing the needs and requests of today with an anticipation that patient-centered care is the future.”

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