Survey: Healthcare IT Trends to Watch in 2024

June 26, 2024
Software development firm Auvik surveyed over 2000 IT professionals to report on current trends in healthcare IT. Auvik concluded that automation is the theme for this year’s trends report.

On Monday, June 24, Canadian cloud-based IT management platform Auvik released its nine healthcare IT trends to watch this year. For its report, Auvik surveyed over 2000 IT professionals, including CEOs, system administrators, and operations managers. Healthcare Innovation recently spoke with Auvik representatives about the survey’s outcomes.

Based on the survey responses, the executive summary indicated that automation was a key trend. “Automation can contribute to a better end-user experience,” the report stated. Another highlight mentioned in the summary was that “there is a gap between the experiences of IT operations personnel on the front lines and what their management perceives.”

Alex Hoff, founder and CSO of Auvik, was not particularly surprised by the survey responses. However, Hoff said there is more sensitivity around data in the healthcare field. Auvik’s Bob Wientzen, senior manager of global communications, indicated that the findings of the survey confirmed some of the known key trends. The difficulty companies are having is around hiring, as well as the need to find third parties for outsourcing, Wientzen added.

“Security is still top of mind,” Hoff said when asked about differences between the current survey results and last year’s. “People want to do projects to drive automation and leverage third parties but are being challenged by getting the monies to do so.”

“I think a lot of people struggle with shadow IT,” Hoff noted. The concern with this is the security aspect. “Project management teams use mirror boards to do collaboration.” There is sensitive data there, Hoff pointed out.

The top findings from the survey were:

  • Healthcare IT professionals spend more time responding to end-user requests. Thirty-eight percent of IT professionals track end-user satisfaction as the most important success metric.
  • The healthcare field has the highest concentration of on-site workers. Following the pandemic, IT across different organizations supports remote work about 90 percent of the time. Healthcare, however, maintains the highest percentage of on-site work compared to other industries.
  • Healthcare network configurations are backed up less frequently compared to other sectors. Only 18 percent of the healthcare IT respondents said they back up their network daily versus 27 percent across other sectors.
  • Network devices by the same vendor are the go-to for healthcare IT professionals. Network devices have been entirely made by the same vendor for healthcare IT professionals.
  • Healthcare IT teams are more likely to outsource network-related tasks than other organizations. Eighty percent of organizations rely on external partners for critical, network-related tasks.
  • SaaS visibility is lower in healthcare IT than in other industries. Healthcare IT professionals reported having no visibility into employees sharing accounts on SaaS applications.
  • Automation adoption is high. Healthcare respondents reported that network and SaaS-related activities were mostly automated.
  • The IT talent gap continues to widen in healthcare. The healthcare field copes with staffing shortages across the board and healthcare IT is no exception.
  • Network operations security remains a top concern for healthcare IT professionals. In light of recent security breaches, healthcare respondents identified data loss prevention tools, access to control and moderation tools, and anomaly detection tools as the most used or considered network security options for 2024.

Regarding outsourcing, Hoff thinks more people should embrace it. “I’m very pro-focusing on your core competencies,” Hoff remarked. If you want to do in-house training, that’s your choice. However, that doesn’t make sense at scale, he remarked.

Even though the trend is still working on-site for the healthcare sector, “More and more people are telecommuting,” Hoff said. “Those resources are in the cloud.” How do you get visibility to trusted data such as medical imaging and patient records? Hoff asked. “With more people embracing the flexibility of working remotely post-pandemic, we do see an impact.” People are still relying on legacy infrastructure VPNs and insecure technologies. With so many vulnerabilities, organizations want to know how to do this differently. “How do we give the doctors and the imaging specialists the flexibility to work remotely but also maintain a secure performance experience for them?” This is more a theme than a trend, Hoff indicated.

“SaaS visibility runs a little bit lower in the healthcare IT industry than it does in other industries,” Wientzen highlighted.

“The world has embraced the cloud,” Hoff remarked. “It is easy to centralize the management….as long as you don’t let people into the front door through bad passwords and not using Multifactor Authentication (MFA).” It’s obvious to utilize MFA, Hoff stated. It’s also apparent you should back up your network, he added.

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