A recent survey by Bain & Company in conjunction with KLAS Research sheds light on investments in post-pandemic healthcare, finding that providers are focusing their investments over the next year in three key areas: cybersecurity, intake or patient flow and revenue cycle management.
Telehealth and clinical systems were also listed as investment priorities.
While their survey sample included just 289 healthcare executives, the results help glean possible insights into how providers are allocating budgets, even before a possible recession. The survey suggests that even as hospitals emerge from the pandemic, “they are doubling down on their software investments.
Privacy and security software was listed as an investment priority as the wave of cyberattacks against the sector remained constant before, during and after the pandemic response. But the investments are happening when “the risks have increased”.
“Due to the increase in the number of nodes in vendor technology ecosystems, there has been an increase in security vulnerabilities,” according to the report. And these data breaches are getting more costly, up nearly 40% since 2020.
Investments in health care consider privacy and security concerns amid the challenges of the current climate
More than ever, regional health systems, stand-alone hospitals, and mental health care providers have focused on investing in privacy and security to address these concerns and threats. The report notes that cybersecurity and IoT security are key investment areas.
The report also looked at how vendors are using software in the current climate, particularly in the face of financial pressures, staffing shortages, cybersecurity risks, and the proliferation of healthcare IT vendors. The report notes that vendor organizations are leveraging a combination of tactics, with many deploying new software solutions to mitigate the possible impact.
For cybersecurity risks in particular, “vendors are increasingly streamlining bloated technology stacks and looking to their existing electronic health record vendors and other vendors for new solutions before evaluating new vendor offerings” , according to the report.
Security threats and targeted cyberattacks against the healthcare sector are expected to continue for the foreseeable future. As the Biden administration continues to point to initiatives designed to better protect critical infrastructure organizations like healthcare, the researchers note that it’s possible that “regulators will introduce enhanced security mandates,” or even provide a funding for cybersecurity.
However, as noted in previous reports, it is important that vendors continue their efforts to strengthen the current posture, as congressional efforts take time. Best practices and investments should focus on a multi-layered approach with effective firewalls and patch management, with the goal of moving towards a zero-trust approach.
For healthcare software vendors, the researchers highlighted the importance of aligning their marketing messages with the current challenges facing vendors. As noted in a recent report, many software and IT vendors are trying to enter the healthcare market. But to do this successfully, these teams need to build strong partnerships with providers and have healthcare experience on the team.
The report notes that vendors must also be prepared to provide “measurable financial and clinical returns on their products, while emphasizing differentiated safety protocols and/or features.” Finally, “highlight differentiated security features, as software vendors with industry-leading security credentials, features, and capabilities can stand out.”
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