Austerity pressures hospital CIOs

nhsleafletEurope-wide austerity programmes and spending cuts are placing more and more pressure on healthcare providers and hospitals to shrink their spending, and a report from IDC Health Insights claims one viable option will be consolidating their IT systems.

Increasing efficiencies must be a priority for hospital procurement and implementation, IDC claims. They will be striving to offer the same level of care, quality and safety with less resources, so in turn, to stay afloat, they should offer services coordinated with other providers in their catchment areas.

Silvia Piai, IDC Health Insights EMEA research manager, said that in a resource stretched scenario, keeping IT in line with long term business objectives is not an easy task. “Hospitals’ CIOs have to architect for reusability, interoperability, and scalability when implementing new enterprise and line of business solutions, Piai said. “Just keeping the lights on for the existing systems will only drive them to a budget-cut vortext”.

Hospital IT departments are usually driven, IDC pointed out, by regulation compliance. Other aspects in chain management and governance are underestimated, and this leans on a hospitals’ capabilities in risk management.

Top on the agenda for hospital CIOs at the moment is electronic medical records. Health information exchange exchange focusing on cooperation with other providers “is still relatively low,” IDC said. High investments are being put into e-procurement, business intelligence and analytics.

Speaking with over 100 European hospital executives about their business priorities, IDC noted that pressure to reduce public expendiature is reflected in hospitals’ needs to improve performance and IT costs. Strong financial and legal penalties for failing to meet regulatory requirements in emerging areas such as data capture, retention, protection and security are ultimately determining the course of hospital IT investment.

IDC notes change management will include alternative governance models and this challenge is being underestimated in IT. It will bring together physicians and nurses from different care centres, IDC said, or changes in funding models that offer incentives for care and collaborative culture.