Hospital Health IT Budgets, Staff Changes: What Execs Should Know

May 11, 2018

A recent survey reveals how hospital technology budgets are changing. Find out if your organization is making similar changes.

Healthcare IT executives say their budgets are steadily declining. That’s according to findings from a series of annual surveys put forth by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

Lorren Pettit, MS, MBA, vice president, HIS and Market Research, HIMSS North America, discussed the findings during a recent webinar.

This year’s survey polled 369 healthcare technology leaders at provider organizations and vendor/consulting organizations.

When asked to predict how their operating budget would change over the next year, just 24% of survey respondents predicted an increase. Twenty-one percent predicted there would be no change, 43% predicted a decrease, and 13% said they didn’t know or didn’t answer.

When compared to previous years, the percentage of hospitals expecting an increase in their operating budget continued to shift downward. Forty three percent of provider respondents to this year’s survey said their budget would decrease this year, 18% of respondents to the 2017 survey said it would decrease, and 7% of respondents to the 2016 survey said it would decrease.  

Staffing trends

Regarding health IT staffing, 37% of provider respondents to this year’s survey said their number of full-time staff members increased in the past year, while 22% said that number decreased.

Forty percent predicted the number of filled and open positions would increase in 2019, and 16% predicted a decrease.

Of note, just over half of respondents said they had had to scale back or place on hold health IT projects or initiatives in the past year because of staffing/workforce challenges.

Eighty-seven percent of this year’s survey hospital respondents said they employ a chief information officer. In addition:

  • 67% employ a senior clinical IT leader (CMIO, CNIO, CHIO)
  • 42% employ a senior information security leader (CISO)
  • 36% employ a chief technology officer (CTO)
  • 23% employ a chief innovation officer (CIO)
  • 12% employ a chief transformation officer (CTO)

Most survey respondents indicated that overall, these roles are increasing in influence within provider organizations.

Of note, Pettit said, is that both vendors and provider respondents indicated a growing influence in the CISO role. That’s “something to keep an eye on,” he said. “It’s interesting to see where this role will take the organization by clearly having a greater influence in the hospital marketplace.”

Top IT priorities

Hospital respondents were also asked to rank their top health IT priorities. Here are the results:

#1. Patient safety

#2. Privacy, security, and cybersecurity

#3. Process improvement, work flow, change management  

#4. Data analytics/clinical and business intelligence  

#5. Clinical informatics and clinician engagement