Survey: 2017 Health IT Priorities Include Cybersecurity, Analytics, EHR Improvements

Cybersecurity, analytics, population health, and even artificial intelligence are some of the health IT topics on the radar for healthcare provider organizations in 2017, according to a survey from Healthcare IT News, “2017: The Year Ahead in Health IT.”

Of the 95 healthcare executives polled for the survey, several were planning technology upgrades in 2017, for areas including including:

  • Security (52 percent)
  • Analytics (51 percent)
  • Patient engagement (44 percent)
  • Population health (44 percent)
  • Electronic health records (EHRs) (31 percent)
  • Remote patient monitoring (24 percent)
  • Revenue cycle management (22 percent)

The status of security upgrades as a top priority makes sense, according to Joe Fisne, associate chief information officer at Geisinger Health System, in the Healthcare IT News article. “We are in an age where technology has extended so far into the realm of healthcare that it has become one of the most critical things, so the heightened need for security follows,” Fisne said. Security concerns include network security, app security, encrypting data, malicious employee activity, mobile technology, Internet of Things devices, and accidental (non-malicious) employee activity.

Fisne also spoke to the importance of analytics for leveraging data and working to improve population health, noting that “We are investing in some of the Big Data platforms to take information and demonstrate trends, practices and patterns of care, as well as patterns of illness along the way.”

As organizations continue to work on integrating and further developing their EHR systems to reap the most benefit from the technology, EHR upgrades and projects that are on the docket for organizations include:

  • Improving interoperability (60 percent)
  • Improving workflow (55 percent)
  • Improving usability (47 percent)
  • Adding population health tools (37 percent)
  • Migrating to the cloud (28 percent)
  • Major system upgrade (24 percent)
  • Replacing current system (21 percent)

Organizations will also be looking to improve acceptance of new EHR systems among physician and nursing staff, with initiatives such as improving system interfaces and demonstrating clearly how the EHRs can help with value-based care and reducing time spent on tasks besides direct patient interaction, according to the article.

Many survey respondents also reported looking to introduce technologies for the first time, including:

  • Analytics (45 percent)
  • Workflow improvement (45 percent)
  • Telehealth (44 percent)
  • Population health (41 percent)
  • Smart medical devices (41 percent)
  • Remote patient monitoring (34 percent)
  • Precision medicine (21 percent)

It’s notable that many organizations will be looking to implement analytics- and population health-related technologies for the first time, as well as begin to take advantage of telehealth. Population health is a high priority for 2017 with many organizations, according to the survey, but 29 percent still reported that they had no plans to make population health a priority in 2017.

Respondents also expressed interest in emerging technologies, including:

  • Prescriptive analytics (63 percent)
  • Artificial intelligence (34 percent)
  • Genomics tools (21 percent)
  • Machine learning (21 percent)
  • Cognitive computing (19 percent)
  • Blockchain (6 percent)

To read the full write up on the survey, read the article at Healthcare IT News here.


Sarah Sheber is assistant editor and web editor at Journal of AHIMA.


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