Five Healthcare Information Technology Challenges in 2020
After reviewing last year’s Healthcare information technology (IT) developments and trends, I find that the same challenges continue, but they are on a larger scale. More data, more security risks and attacks, more demands from consumers of healthcare services, more applications with fewer staff, and more pressures to reduce costs. More of everything, even in the face of some progress on these fronts for the past few years.
Challenge #1: Increased Storage
There is an explosion of storage and processing needs due to:
- Imaging, especially 2D and 3D images as images grow more precise for better care
- Artificial Intelligence used to streamline diagnosis and treatment
- Data from medical devices to speed diagnosis and treatment through AI
- Big data collection to improve patient care and population health
The first sub-challenge is the ability to ramp up quickly to meet the demand. The abrupt increase in capital budget requirements are not achievable given healthcare enterprises’ vast need for resources.
The second sub-challenge is to provide the right speed of access required for patient care, but at a cost that does not break the budget. This means constantly moving data to lower cost platforms in an automated fashion. This takes knowledgeable, experienced staff to set up, along with the right tools.
Challenge #2: Increased Cyberattacks
The second major challenge is the increased targeting of healthcare, especially for ransom.
The criminal does not steal the data–just locks it up and holds it for ransom, since patient care cannot be delivered appropriately without it. This makes it both easy and lucrative and the easiest way to do this is still spear phishing, just as in other industries.
At the same time, the exposure grows due to the increased amount of data from medical devices becoming integral to patient care. It has long been known that medical devices are vulnerable due to manufacturer negligence in providing adequate security protections and the use of legacy equipment by healthcare providers. Good progress is however, being made in both areas.
Challenge #3: Non-Traditional Healthcare Delivery
The third major challenge is the continued growth of the non-traditional delivery of healthcare especially the expansion of telehealth.
The first sub-challenge in this area is creating a high-speed network between facilities, such as remote offices or even patient homes to provide excellent video and diagnostic data transmission between patients and physicians or other healthcare providers. The second sub-challenge is to do this securely, while keeping costs affordable.
Challenge #4: Application Management
The fourth major challenge for healthcare IT leadership is managing dozens of both clinical (e.g., Epic) and non-clinical of applications, such as the ERP system (e.g., Oracle® Peoplesoft) and many more with limited staff. Experienced knowledgeable staff are attracted to industries that pay higher salaries, so hiring and retaining staff becomes a critical barrier to achieving enterprise IT goals. As the overall economy continues to grow and thrive, this challenge increases.
Challenge #5: Digital Learning, Cloud Opportunities, and Artificial Learning.
Finally, the fifth major challenge I have found for 2020 is the need to implement digital learning, cloud deployment and artificial intelligence to reduce IT and enterprise operational costs.
Besides the need for data storage and processing capabilities to accomplish the above, there is the problem of the newness of these technologies. This means that there are very few knowledgeable and experienced staff to accomplish these ends well and without expensive missteps. Getting these resources is very expensive and may be cost prohibitive for most healthcare providers especially those not part of large systems that have deep pockets.
How can Secure-24 Managed Services help?
- Secure-24 can help providers stand up more storage, high speed secure networks and massive processing capability smoothly and quickly as needed, avoiding massive unplanned capital expenditures. In addition, our professionals can use our extensive experience coupled with best practices to set up processes to move data to lower cost lower speed platforms.
- Secure-24 has a comprehensive security practice handling every aspect of information security that is less expensive than hiring and maintaining the skilled staff needed to accomplish this. This provides IT management with the time to understand where their most critical data is located and to implement protections to reduce the risk of a successful attack.
- Secure-24 specialists have the networking and security skills, along with vast resources that can help to make telehealth challenges easier and less costly. Again, this can be done smoothly and quickly due to our global experience in many industries with similar requirements.
- Secure-24 can manage ERP and Microsoft suites, especially with our partnership with Microsoft. Again, our years of experience can help save IT management time in hiring and retaining employees, as well as, provide round0the-clock oversight to help ensure smooth operations. This enables management to focus on mission-critical clinical applications that will achieve the primary enterprise goal of excellent patient care.
- Our specialists can support a Hybrid, Multi- Cloud environment, providing clients with a predictable, lower cost method to provide pertinent information to their teams to use in their work, whether it is diagnosing, providing treatment, running digital learning platforms, or handling financial operations.
Contact a Healthcare Specialist
Our teams can help Healthcare providers accelerate value-based care. As a proven industry leader, we are well positioned to help providers meet growth goals, improve IT efficiency and enhance patient care.
John Brady is the CISO at Secure-24.