As the pandemic disrupted traditional patient service models, the healthcare sector overwhelmingly adopted remote and telehealth technology solutions. SOTI‘s Healthcare Report 2022, A Critical Investment: Taking the Pulse of Technology in Healthcare, shows that 98% of global healthcare providers that offer frontline services have implemented IoT/telehealth medical device capabilities. However, this has come at a price as one-third of companies experience data leaks caused by frontline employees.
As part of its report, SOTI surveyed 1,300 healthcare IT professionals across the U.S., Canada Mexico, UK, Germany, France, Sweden, and Australia to understand how their organizations pivoted to provide patient care throughout the pandemic, the role technology played in delivering positive patient outcomes, and what major obstacles remain.
Pandemic Accelerated Digital Healthcare Adoption
SOTI’s healthcare report found that with the adoption of new technologies in the healthcare sector, 74% of IT healthcare professionals have increased their annual technology spend since 2020. The increased focus in healthcare IT investments today appears to be centered on three key elements: interconnectivity, automation, and data management. Research revealed:
- Digital patient record keeping would increase efficiency and enhance data sharing (96%).
- The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in patient care has allowed medical staff to treat more patients (77%).
- IT healthcare professionals agree patient services would benefit from heightened interconnectivity (65%).
“Mobile and IoT devices have reshaped how healthcare organizations think about patient care and put a stronger emphasis on the patient experience. Investments in IoT, telehealth medical device capabilities, and technical infrastructure are now becoming vital in meeting critical care requirements and aiding overall digital maturity. It is now a matter of educating employees and IT leaders about what else their technology can do for their bottom line and infrastructure,” said Shash Anand, VP of Product Strategy at SOTI.
Data Security An Ongoing Concern
A staggering 84% of IT healthcare professionals are concerned about the next phase of their digital transformation. These concerns include patient information being revealed, lost, accessed, stolen, or inadequately backed up. 98% of IT healthcare professionals worry about the security of digital patient records. These are justified concerns as 46% of organizations have experienced a data breach and 35% of data leaks stem from employees since 2020.
When asked about their biggest concerns regarding the security of patient records held digitally within their organization, IT healthcare professionals listed the following:
|Financial cost/reputational damage of a data breach||58%|
|Patient records being stolen in a cyberattack or hacking||51%|
|Patient information being revealed without patient consent||36%|
|Devices lost or stolen, which could be used to access patient records||36%|
|Unauthorized internal users could access patient records||33%|
|Data stored on devices is not adequately backed up to the server or cloud||33%|
|Patient information being lost||33%|
|No training on how to keep patient records secure||23%|
“Data security is an ongoing concern for IT healthcare professionals that reduces confidence in mobile and IoT technologies, devices, and services being deployed. Healthcare providers need to have a device management solution with strong security credentials in place that enhances visibility, security, and management of all devices,” said Anand.
Addressing Device Downtime
A move towards digitization and eliminating outdated manual and paper processes enables healthcare providers to focus on patients and reduces the burden of administrative and repetitive tasks. However, when technologies are not properly implemented or maintained, costly device downtime can hinder healthcare workers’ ability to provide critical care. All of this leads to each healthcare employee losing approximately 155 hours per year or 19 workdays.
Forty-seven percent (47%) of IT healthcare professionals who participated in SOTI’s study reported their organization experiences downtime with IoT/telehealth medical devices, leading to significant patient care delays. The majority (82%) of IT healthcare professionals have experienced an issue of some kind, with 55% citing systems not integrating effectively and 45% noting frequent technical issues.
Close to 40% of healthcare professionals reported to SOTI that comprehensive health information for each patient, such as medical records, test results, and allergies is not readily available nor in one place. Nearly one-third of healthcare providers experience a delay when accessing patient information, as it is not automatically updated and shared across all systems used in the industry.
“In order to improve the level of day-to-day treatment and avoid patient care delays due to device downtime, IT healthcare professionals must ensure they have an advanced diagnostic intelligence solution in place that can provide performance visibility across all devices and the ability to provide device support remotely. Having such a solution in place provides healthcare workers with a seamless, safer, and faster patient experience and equips them with the tools needed to provide critical care,” concluded Anand.
A Critical Investment: Taking the Pulse of Technology in Healthcare report can be downloaded here.
Using an online methodology, SOTI conducted 1,300 interviews with IT professionals in organizations providing frontline patient-facing healthcare services with 50+ employees across eight countries. All participants are aged 18 and over. Fieldwork was conducted from June 7 to 14, 2022. The interviews are split across eight markets as follows: the U.S. (200 interviews), Canada (150 interviews), Mexico (150 interviews), UK (200 interviews), Germany (150 interviews), France (150 interviews), Sweden (150 interviews), and Australia (150 interviews).