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Once again, security tops the investment priority list for health IT professionals, according to TechTarget's healthcare purchasing intentions survey for 2016.
Last year's survey results also indicated that health IT professionals' healthcare purchasing strategies focused on investments in securing health data, and Scott Wallask, SearchHealthIT's editorial director, predicted this may increase, given a number of high-end breaches in 2015. It seems that has happened, with steady waves of ransomware attacks already being reported so far this year, including Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center -- which paid the $17,000 ransom in bitcoins -- in Los Angeles; Methodist Hospital in Henderson, Ky.; and Alvarado Hospital Medical Center in San Diego, to name a few.
This has health IT professionals looking more fervently at technologies and creating robust cybersecurity plans to help them in securing health data and their organizations.
"We're looking at products that are more innovative in terms of how they're trying to figure out what anomalies are going on in their network," David Higginson, executive vice president, chief administrative officer and CIO at Phoenix Children's Hospital, told SearchHealthIT at HIMSS 2016.
Although security may be at the forefront of health IT professionals' minds and at the top of their healthcare purchasing lists, TechTarget's nonscientific survey of 181 professionals from hospitals, providers and insurance carriers found that other technologies proliferating the healthcare space have not been forgotten.
The survey found these professionals also plan to invest in the following:
- Business intelligence and analytics;
- Compliance -- especially concerning HIPAA audits, which are set to begin this year;
- EHR software; and
- Mobile health.
The added pressure of the HIPAA audits
It's official. The OCR HIPAA audits will start this year. It's no wonder health IT professionals have listed compliance as a spending priority -- in addition to security -- as part of their healthcare purchasing strategy.
Nearly three fourths of respondents said they plan to increase investments in compliance in 2016, with 67% of respondents citing HIPAA audit readiness and preparation as a main area within compliance they plan to invest in.
Although the motivation for increasing investments in securing health data and compliance may be coming from the increased number of ransomware attacks and the desire to avoid a hefty fine should a healthcare organization not pass a HIPAA audit, another important factor is patient trust, Rob Rhodes, a former CIO and vice president for product management at Iatric Systems Inc., based in Boxford, Mass., told SearchHealthIT's Shaun Sutner.
"Patient trust is going to be a competitive advantage," Rhodes said. "Hospital organizations finally understand that it's not just about federal or state regulations, but [health IT cybersecurity] is a global problem."
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