6 Key Healthcare CIO Questions Answered

Lauren Farah Manager, Vertical Solutions Marketing Published 22 Mar 2019

“The 2019 Gartner CIO Survey shows healthcare provider CIOs will leverage investments in AI, machine learning and advanced analytics to deliver business value. CIOs must effectively integrate digital into their IT strategic plans and advance digital dexterity with C-suite leaders.” – Gartner, 2019 CIO Agenda: Healthcare Provider Industry Insights

Recently, Gartner published the 2019 Gartner CIO Survey. The objective of the survey is to provide CIOs and IT leaders with data that will assist in establishing management agendas for the year. The healthcare-specific follow-up report, 2019 CIO Agenda: Healthcare Provider Industry Insights, zooms in on insights from 106 healthcare CIO respondents.

At Extreme we believe that power lies within the hands of the consumer, and that goes for all industries including healthcare. Healthcare provider executives recognize this, and they’re pushing for their organizations to assume a consumer and patient-focused service delivery and operations model. Digital technology has to drive value across services and personal experiences.

Here’s where CIOs come in: the onus is on them to head up digital transformation and begin executing on projects that will deliver positive business and clinical outcomes. Meanwhile, the healthcare industry as a whole is experiencing its own transformation as changing value propositions, obscuring financial terms, and frequent acquisitions materialize with increasing frequency. In the midst of the evolution, new tactics and strategies are required in order to compete.

What Healthcare CIOs are Saying About Their Digital Strategy for 2019

Let’s take a closer look at what healthcare CIOs are saying about their digital strategy for this year across six different initiatives covered in Gartner’s new report.

1. State of Digitalization Efforts

    • For context, Gartner defines five sequential stages along the journey to digital business transformation: ambition, design, deliver, scale, and refine.
    • About 34% of healthcare provider CIOs describe their digitalization efforts in the refine and scale stages. This is an increase from the 2018 survey, where only 21% selected these stages of maturity.
    • About 24% of provider CIOs say they are at the early stage of ambition, and 2% state they have no digital initiative.
    • Only 8% of provider CIOs in the 2019 survey rate a high level of effectiveness in making digital an integral part of their business strategy and planning, while 18% rate themselves as ineffective.

According to Gartner’s report, “Healthcare provider CIOs report progress in their organization’s digital maturity yet have room to grow in their overall effectiveness of making digital an integral part of business strategy and harvesting results. We attribute much of this progress to the journey to becoming a real-time health system. CIOs are leveraging digital capabilities for a health system that is digitally aware, collaborative, patient-centric and real-time.”

2. Top Business Priorities for 2019

  • Provider CEOs and business leaders prioritize revenue/business growth as their organization’s top priority (32%), consistent with the previous 2018 CIO Survey where growth/market share ranked as the top priority (29%).
    • Digital business transformation (12%) and cost optimization (12%) are the next highest rated priorities.

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  • Healthcare provider CIOs say their organizations are concerned about generating revenue, business growth, and cost optimization more than their industry counterparts, with less interest in digital transformation (12%).

3. Top Game Changer Technologies

“We predict that, by 2020, 70% of healthcare provider CIOs will cite advanced analytics as their top priority. This Strategic Planning Assumption offers the opportunity for CIOs to demonstrate how the combination of data, advanced analytics, AI and the industry’s digital capabilities, will be transformational for healthcare.” – Gartner, 2019 CIO Agenda: Healthcare Provider Industry Insights

Among healthcare provider CIOs, Gartner’s report found that “Data analytics (including predictive analytics) is the most commonly mentioned top game-changing technology in the 2019 CIO Survey. AI and machine learning follow, along with digital transformation, information technology, and the Internet of Things (IoT).”

Additionally, when AI is combined with advanced & real-time analytics across healthcare organizations, technologies have the potential to:

    • Reduce medical errors
    • Increase diagnostic accuracy and outcomes
    • Contribute to revenue optimization
    • Simplify operations

4. Top Areas for New and Decreased Technology Spending

Gartner’s research has found that:

    • The top area of increase is business intelligence (BI) or data analytics. The expected spend in the 2019 CIO Survey on BI or data analytics (52%) represents a huge jump from how provider CIOs rated this category last year (21%).
    • 33% of provider CIOs rank cyber/ information security as a top spend.
    • Equally important, 33% of provider CIOs ranking it as a primary area of increase.
    • Infrastructure and data center, software development, and cloud services solutions are at the bottom of the planned spend.

Gartner states, “In balancing new funding, decreased funding and areas where spending will be the highest, provider CIOs need to consider a number of factors, year over year. These factors include the continued focus on managing ongoing improvement, benefit realization and total cost of ownership for the life cycle of investments in the EHR”

5. CIO Engagement in Business Model Design

The 2019 Gartner CIO Survey shows, “Healthcare provider CIOs are very involved in shaping the digital transformation of their organizations. They are on par with CIOs at typical performer organizations across all industries and excel at shaping the digital transformation of their organizations.”

According to Gartner, “Today, disruption by native technology companies and demands from patients are forcing healthcare providers to rethink their business model in the context of digital business. IT organizations, well-aligned with business and clinical leaders, can intimately engage in designing the new business model.”

6. Most Significant Barriers to Achieving CIO Objectives

According to Gartner, “The top barrier to achieving their objectives among provider CIOs is insufficient funding/budgets to pay for digital business initiatives (45%), followed by business culture blocking change (41%). The next tier of barriers is familiar to provider CIOs and is acutely felt in healthcare providers: insufficient IT resources, skills, technology maturity, process, and leadership.”

Gartner also states, “Provider CIOs must engage C-suite colleagues and agree on a single, unified communications message and change management and delivery approach with shared measurements of success. By aligning incentives between IT and the business, CIOs can reduce the friction within the organization that may be hindering the ability to achieve objectives.”

Download the full Gartner Report to learn more about top-of-mind topics for healthcare provider CIOs.

*Gartner, 2019 CIO Agenda: Healthcare Provider Industry Insights, 15 October 2018, Susan Hull, Rich Ross

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