Healthcare CIOs doing more with less

CSC’s CIO Survey shows healthcare IT is on the cutting edge

CSC recently released its annual global CIO survey, which analyzes trends and outlooks for CIOs, based on responses of global technology leaders across multiple private and public sector industries.

As world markets become more digitized, organizations across virtually every sector must harness IT, making the role of the CIO increasingly vital to success. And technology is no longer simply a matter of implementing software, as the focus of the IT department shifts from complex, occasional long-term projects to a continual cycle of disruptive transformation.

Doing more with less …

But while IT budgets generally seem to be rising – 64 % reported increased spending compared with 46% in 2013 – the biggest challenge for healthcare, particularly in the public sector, is finance.

Sixty-nine percent of healthcare respondents said budget constraints were hindering innovation versus 52% overall, and 45% said that managing legacy workloads is hampering innovation, compared with 39% of all respondents.

Yet somehow, healthcare organizations are delivering disruptive innovation in spite of financial limitations, and it’s particularly pleasing to see how healthcare stands out in terms of its ambition and willingness to embrace new technology.

…yet embracing innovation

For example, 74% of healthcare respondents said they are investing heavily in big data, compared with 64% of the overall sample, and 90% thought it was positively impacting on productivity and efficiency, versus 75% overall. Eighty-one percent of healthcare industry respondents are making substantial investments in cybersecurity, versus 71% overall, while 74 % and 67% of healthcare CIOs respectively say their mobility and private cloud initiatives are driving innovation, compared with 67% and 60% of the total survey base.

Disruptive innovation in action

Take the University of Pennsylvania Health System (Penn Medicine), where 2,000+ physicians are using mobile solutions to deliver faster, more effective care. “Mobile technology helps us provide the right data to the right decision maker at the right time, in the right place, and on the right device,” says Michael Restuccia, vice president and CIO.

Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital and Medical Research Institute in Mumbai is one of India’s most advanced special-care facilities. CIO Rajesh Batra’s team includes subject matter experts, who understand both IT and medical perspectives, while the organization’s innovative technologies include a digital radiology system operating on a hybrid cloud, enabling doctors to view images from home.

Meanwhile, at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, implementation projects include a digital health record and electronic document management system, but the trust still makes time to ensure IT experts work on the ward at least one day a year in a “back to the floor” exercise. “It’s important for our IT technicians to understand how vital their services are, what IT actually means to a clinician when a printer or PC goes down,” says Tracey Scotter, Director of Informatics.

Where IT meets patient care

So healthcare seems to be leading the way, regardless of financial constraints.

But none of this is a great surprise to me. Every day in my role at CSC, I see and hear about committed professionals who care passionately about their work and the patients treated in their facilities.

The common theme running through these successes – and what I believe is the key to successful innovation – are CIOs who understands the needs and the aims of their healthcare organizations and are therefore able to deliver innovative technology that supports medical colleagues in the delivery of patient care.

Their working environments are highly specialized and complex, yet the desired outcome is simple and universal.

To quote Rajesh Batra:

“If the people who come to the hospital go home smiling, that’s the biggest reward anybody can ask for. And, if I can make the life of the doctor a little easier so he or she can spend more time with the patient, that’s even better.”

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