In recent years, healthcare organizations have increasingly turned to digital devices to help streamline patient care after the pandemic exposed critical areas for improvement within the sector. A recent SOTI study, “A Critical Investment: Taking the Pulse of Technology in Healthcare,” revealed that synchronous IoT/telehealth medical device provision had jumped from 35% before 2020 to 64% since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Additionally, the same study found that 72% of global IT healthcare professionals believe new technology investments are necessary to prepare for future crises.
Despite this increased investment, many healthcare workers still experience significant issues with security and device downtime. Overall, more than 95% of IT healthcare professionals have experienced an issue relating to device downtime, with 58% citing systems not integrating effectively and 52% stating frequent technical issues as the main cause. In fact, with the rapid rate of adoption of remote and telehealth technology solutions, the healthcare sector is experiencing significant delays in patient care. This results in a reduction in the number of patients treated and limits access to digital patient records.
While a move towards digitization and eliminating outdated manual processes enables healthcare providers to focus on patients, it has also raised significant cybersecurity concerns regarding the new digital infrastructure. A staggering 70% of global organizations have experienced a data breach since 2020, and 86% of IT healthcare professionals are concerned about patient information being revealed, lost, accessed, or inadequately backed up. Moreover, 56% of global IT professionals believe some of their interconnected devices are not adequately secure. A shift to improved security of interconnected devices and higher levels of training are being called for as a result.
With these issues and concerns, how do IT and digital transformation align with the goal of healthcare transformation, and is it a lost cause? No, it is not. In fact, the issues described above can be remedied by integrating disparate systems to negate device downtime and ensure highly sensitive patient data is secure.
IT teams must, however, be empowered with the tools and budgets needed to deal with device downtime and security breaches. Indeed, 24% of global IT healthcare professionals have faced budget restraints. Additionally, almost one-quarter of global IT teams believe they spend too much time on minor issues like fixing printers rather than focusing on larger, more expensive projects.
For healthcare organizations looking for a solution to these issues, it is key to realize that innovation in small doses is simply not enough. A concerted leap of faith is necessary across the global healthcare industry, including Canada. Issues of downtime and security are clearly linked to integration issues brought on by new innovations. Ironically, it is these same innovations that will help fight against crises of productivity, efficiency, and security in the long run.
It is a leap that IT professionals in the healthcare sector are more than willing to take. They are the most impacted and presumably the most frustrated by current integration bottlenecks, yet the consensus is they want more technological disruption, not less. If healthcare leaders are to secure sensitive, private patient data and combat costly downtime, the time to act on IT transformation is now.
A: There may need to be more than small doses of IT innovation in the healthcare sector to achieve impactful change because its challenges are complex and multifaceted. Healthcare organizations often have extensive and diverse IT infrastructures, interoperability issues, and regulatory constraints. A more comprehensive and strategic approach is required to address these challenges effectively and drive significant transformation.
A: Impactful IT innovation in the healthcare sector can bring numerous benefits. It can improve patient care by enabling more accurate diagnoses, personalized treatment plans, and efficient healthcare delivery. Tele telehealth solutions, remote monitoring, and patient portals can enhance patient engagement. Additionally, IT innovation can streamline administrative processes, optimize resource allocation, and facilitate data-driven decision-making, improving operational efficiency and cost savings.
A: Several barriers hinder the achievement of impactful IT innovation in the healthcare sector. These barriers include limited interoperability between healthcare systems and data silos, data privacy and security concerns, resistance to change among healthcare professionals, financial constraints, and regulatory complexities. Addressing these barriers requires collaboration among stakeholders, investment in infrastructure and talent, and the development of clear policies and standards.
A: Healthcare organizations can foster impactful IT innovation by adopting a strategic approach. This includes creating a culture of innovation, encouraging collaboration between IT and healthcare professionals, and investing in research and development. Organizations should also prioritize interoperability and data sharing, leverage emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, and actively engage with patients and external partners to explore new opportunities for innovation and improvement.
A: Leadership plays a crucial role in driving impactful IT innovation in the healthcare sector. Strong and visionary leadership can set the direction, align organizational goals with innovation initiatives, and create a supportive environment for change. Leaders should champion innovation, allocate resources strategically, and encourage a culture of continuous learning and improvement. By providing guidance and support, leaders can inspire healthcare professionals and IT teams to embrace innovation and drive transformative changes in the sector.