The healthcare industry is experiencing yet another digital transformation as it works to manage a hybrid workforce, new mobile technologies and patient care. This transformation has created new challenges for IT professionals who now have a diverse portfolio of devices that if not managed correctly could lead to significant security issues.
New global research from SOTI, The Technology Lifeline: Charting Digital Progress in Healthcare, highlights the scale of the potential security risks, with 46% of IT professionals stating having experienced a planned or accidental data leak from an employee in the last year and 45% experiencing a data breach from an outside source or distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack since 2021.
SOTI surveyed 1,450 healthcare IT professionals across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Netherlands and Australia to gain insight into the evolving landscape of healthcare technology adoption, the impact of increasing technology implementation, the range of devices used and what challenges and security risks remain.
Security Concerns Continue to Loom
SOTI found that healthcare IT professionals in the U.S. are the most concerned about the security of patient records in their organization, including:
|Patient information revealed/lost/accessed/stolen/not adequately backed up
|Financial cost/reputational damage of data breach
|No training/device lost/stolen
“The healthcare sector is facing an alarming imbalance between technological advancements and necessary resources to manage and secure devices. Device management complexities often arise when integrating innovative technologies to mitigate potential vulnerabilities and protect sensitive healthcare data. Even with increased investments, security problems have yet to be solved. Healthcare providers can incur not just financial costs and regulatory penalties but hinder their relationships with patients. In fact, a quarter of U.S. healthcare providers believe rising budgets and growing digital portfolios can create data privacy concerns if not managed properly.”Shash Anand, SVP of Product Strategy at SOTI
More Money, More Devices, More Problems
The digital transformation of the healthcare sector now relies heavily on the speed and effectiveness of new technologies, as well as investing in and managing devices effectively. In fact, the report found more than half (57%) of organizations increased IT budgets. The greater investment, scale and diversification of devices has led to a 49% increase in the use of a mix of devices (mobile devices, tablets, rugged devices and printers) in their healthcare organization in the past year. An additional 65% of IT professionals also reported an increase in the use of personal devices to access company systems and networks.
Currently, 91% of healthcare IT professionals report their organizations use tablets and laptops, while 86% use smartphones and 73% use printers. However, findings show that tablets and laptops (32%) and smartphones (37%) were not being managed correctly a year ago. The report also found that 26% of printers were not being managed, including for the use of printing prescription labels.
Eliminating Outdated Processes and Legacy Technology
Concerns around the impact of outdated or legacy technologies extends, with 47% of healthcare IT workers believing legacy IT devices and systems expose their networks to security attacks. In addition to security vulnerabilities, respondents also believe legacy devices can hinder day-to-day operations by:
- Being unable to detect new devices connected to system/makes network vulnerable: 54%
- Too much time fixing issues/not enough to work on essential IT issues: 53%
- Being unable to detect new devices/support devices remotely/get detailed info on device usage: 49%
- An inability to support devices remotely/get detailed info on device usage: 41%
- Can’t deploy and manage devices/support remotely: 32%
The research also found manual processes are still being used in a healthcare organization – costing each employee an average of 3.5 hours a week dealing with technical issues or device downtime. Furthermore, IT professionals state the following manual processes used in healthcare organizations would benefit greatly from being automated:
|Collecting data during patient visits
|Accessing and updating patient records
|Recording information for administrative purposes (including incident reporting)
|Accessing test results
|Accessing general medical information/resources
SOTI also found that 95% of IT professionals are prioritizing the usage of new technologies to improve patient care, with 86% implementing and researching Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR).
“Healthcare organizations that delay investing in modern devices and digitizing paper-based processes could face major hurdles including the financial burden of repairs, inefficient operations and reputational damage. Even though automation can help eliminate inefficiencies, if it’s not adequately implemented, infrastructures and business operations will not see change. IT leaders and decision-makers in the healthcare space need a secure mobility management tool that can successfully guide them through the automation journey regardless of their size, budget or current digital maturity.”Shash Anand, SVP of Product Strategy at SOTI
SOTI’s latest healthcare report, The Technology Lifeline: Charting Digital Progress in Healthcare, can be downloaded here.
Using an online methodology, SOTI conducted 1,450 interviews with IT professionals in organizations providing frontline patient-facing healthcare services with 50+ employees across nine countries. All participants are aged 18 and over. Fieldwork was conducted from March 30 to April 18, 2023. The interviews are split as follows: U.S. (200 interviews), Canada (150 interviews), Mexico (150 interviews), UK (200 interviews), Germany (150 interviews), France (150 interviews), Sweden (150 interviews), Netherlands (150 interviews) and Australia (150 interviews).