October 18, 2022

What are Healthcare System Leaders Focused on for the Coming Year?

Written by: 

Audrey Brislin

, VP of Product & Marketing

In-person events are making their comeback and it’s evident that healthcare leaders and the vendor partners supporting them are eager to be back in-person, networking and sharing ideas. I recently had the opportunity to attend a few in-person healthcare events, one hosted by CHIME and the other at the MEDITECH LIVE 22 event. I enjoyed seeing familiar faces, engaging with customers and other vendor partners as we shared our most pressing opportunities, challenges, and outlook on the industry as a whole.

A few trends stood out as I spoke with healthcare system leaders, including many CIOs and CMIOs. Although the organizations vary in size, revenues, regions, and services, the leaders all shared a few common key concerns and focus areas heading into 2023.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity remains at the top of the list. I heard the phrase “It’s not if, but WHEN” in reference to a cyberattack. CIOs face the question of when and will they be prepared? They speak with one another about what solutions they have in place and seek guidance from partners to help them with their strategy and risk mitigation.

Digital Transformation and Patient Engagement

Digital transformation and patient engagement continues to be a priority, but the focus has shifted to streamlining and optimizing. Many leaders told impressive stories about how quickly they had to transform their organization’s digital presence and offerings during the pandemic. Telehealth, online scheduling and tools, mobile apps, and home health are ways healthcare organizations had to quickly adapt to meet the needs of the patients they serve.

However, now the challenge is bringing all those technologies together with interoperability and integration where possible. A few CIOs I spoke with discussed how they had to quickly find and deploy a solution to meet an immediate need, so now they are taking a step back to evaluate the security and longer-term goals around their digital transformation and patient engagement strategies.

October 6th Information Blocking Deadline

The October 6th Information Blocking Deadline was an uncertainty shared by most. Many attendees expressed a lack of clarity around the HIPAA-defined requirement for healthcare providers to share all electronic protected health information in a designated record set. Many felt a general sense of concern they would not be able to comply by the deadline. Several mentioned signing the request for a postponement.

The rule went live on October 6th, even as the confusion remained. The Deputy National Coordinator for Health IT, Steven Posnack, penned a blog post on the ONC website with reminders and advice for those covered by the 21st Century Cures Act.

Consolidations & Competing Priorities

Consolidations and mergers are still prevalent in healthcare. Often there are benefits like cost savings, increased care coordination and better health outcomes. However, along with those benefits many organizations are faced with streamlining technologies and EHR conversions, which pushes other competing priorities further out. Common competing priorities include:

  • Staffing shortages
  • Budget cuts
  • Inflation and its uncertain impact
  • Rising costs associated with security, supplies, and talent

Searching for the Right Vendor Partners

Several leaders shared a shift in how they approach vendors. They are now looking for true partners that offer long-term value to the healthcare system. There was great discussion on how true partners will understand the health system’s specific strategy and provide continuous value and support for long-term success.

Along with being a partner, there was discussion around the way third-party solutions can bring great value if there is a proven ROI and results that align with an organization’s goals and objectives. Decision makers at the health systems often talk with their peers and leverage their industry networks to get opinions on vendors and solutions that have worked well for others.

The Takeaway

While these key focus areas can be sizable projects for most healthcare systems, events like the ones hosted by MEDITECH and CHIME are venues for positive and collaborative discussion. They provide an opportunity for healthcare leaders to share insights and strategies for how to create success and improve patient care.

As a vendor, I appreciate the insight provided at these events, because it often shapes Forward Advantage’s products and services. The discussions were invaluable as we continue to look for ways to improve how we partner with our customers.

Our team looks forward to many more opportunities for in-person events and sharing insights from our healthcare-leader partners and friends. As we look to the remainder of 2022 and into 2023, we look forward to partnering with our customers to address challenges mentioned in this post. Whether it’s helping plan your budget for the coming year, addressing cybersecurity concerns, or improving your organization’s digital front door, we are here to help. Now is a great time to explore our latest solution for patient experience and engagement or one of our proven solutions for better cybersecurity, such as identity governance and administration.

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