Report: Hospital CFOs, CIOs Increasingly Collaborating to Invest in Financial Technologies

June 12, 2019
The latest survey findings from Black Book Research indicate significant changes in the adoption of financial services IT within healthcare organizations

The relationship between senior information systems and financial operations officers is becoming more collaborative and stronger, as chief financial officers (CFOs) are shifting their priorities from cost-cutting to investing in financial technologies, according to a new report from Black Book Research.

For the survey, Black Book connected with 1,600 hospital and health system CFOs, vice presidents of finance and revenue cycle management, and others to spot trends, collect insights and assess the gaps and urgencies of financial technology administration. Additionally, 124 CEOs were polled to compare and contrast organizational viewpoints to the same situations and circumstances.

A set of polls spanning the last six months identified the growing trend that CFOs are shifting their priorities from cost-cutting to rapidly investing in financial technologies: 52 percent of financial executives reported the implementation of advanced analytics is most pressing, followed by (44 percent) broader distributed ledger technologies.

The year-to-year comparison of Black Book's financial leadership technology surveys reveals “dramatic changes in the adoption of financial services IT after nearly seven years of recorded declines or reductions in the budgets allocated for financial software and upgrades,” researchers wrote.

To this end, 91 percent of CFOs surveyed agreed that their past organizational CIO and senior IT management did not support a culture in which financial technology upgrades and acquisitions were prioritized as initiatives that impacted enterprise health system strategy. And, 90 percent of financial leaders and management strongly agreed that the CIOs and IT management undervalued the needs of financial digital transformation and financial tools, instead prioritizing and convincing their boards that their electronic health record (EHR) vendor related offerings were the best spending plan, according to the data.

As a result, 94 percent of marginally performing hospital CFOs nationally have attested that they are not prepared to handle new healthcare delivery and payment models with the tools they currently have. Comparatively, 89 percent of the top financially performing hospitals in the country reported having the organizational technology tools to address modified payment strategies.

"In a noticeable shift since the acquisition of enterprise-wide EHR systems led by CIOs, CFOs have become the executive charged with digital transformations to improve competitive advantages, strategic growth and innovation across all customer touch points, while measuring the technologies' ROI," said Doug Brown, Black Book’s president and CEO.

Although CIO-CFO collaboration in health systems is seen as a critical success element, 93 percent of CFOs in financially struggling facilities reported barriers to agreeable cooperation, but so did 84 percent of CFOs in successfully performing health systems. Meanwhile, 88 percent of CFOs reported having increased involvement in their health system IT agenda since the implementation of their enterprise EHR as compared to 14 percent in 2015.

According to survey participants, barriers to greater CIO-CFO collaboration include:

  • 85 percent of all respondents stated that their current organizational structure prevents enhanced CIO-CFO collaboration. But, 89 percent of CEOs interviewed disagree with this statement.
  • 82 percent of CFOs said they have insufficient understanding of IT issues as the barrier to them not being included in technology selections and approvals prior to 2014
  • 84 percent of CIOs surveyed in Q4 2018 claimed the processes and tools in finance are incomparable to IT functions and remain a significant barrier to mutual understanding.
  • 90 percent of all respondents agreed that the absence of key performance indicators that link IT agendas to financial performance greatly limits their success.
  • 98 percent of respondents strongly agreed that it's the healthcare CFO's job, not the CIO’s job, to ensure their organization fully realize the benefits of technology investments