More than half (51 percent) of healthcare IT leaders expect their organization’s health care IT budget to increase in 2015. Overall, the figure is down from 2014 when 68 percent forecast an IT budget increase. In 2013, 52 percent said budgets were on the rise, according to a report from TEKsystems.
The report is based on forecast data TEKsystems collected from healthcare IT leaders over the last three years.
For 2015, 38 percent of healthcare IT leaders expect IT budgets to stay the same, compared to 23 percent in 2014 and 41 percent in 2013.
Also this year, operational issues, at 81 percent, rank as IT leaders’ number one organizational challenge.
Risk management (79 percent) dropped from first place to second, followed by revenue (67 percent) in third, workforce management (59 percent) in fourth and customer attraction, retention and satisfaction (22 percent) in fifth.
The majority of health care IT leaders said they expect to see spending increases in security (70 percent), mobility (61 percent), business analytics and big data (60 percent), and cloud technology (55 percent).
"Investments are being made in the IT workers with the skillsets that allow them to best develop new applications, while improving the processes that patients need to go through in order to get the care they need," Ryan Skains, executive director of TEKsystems healthcare services, told eWEEK. "From initiatives that are as simple as building mobile applications that provide office hours, locations, contact information and directions to a clinic - all the way through building and implementing security applications that help the organization curb referral leakage - are involved and vastly important."
In 2015, improving efficiency (49 percent) was cited as the top objective, followed by reducing costs (42 percent), improving existing IT applications and infrastructure (37 percent), managing risk (34 percent) and delivering operational results (29 percent).
Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of health care IT leaders expect overall IT salaries to increase in 2015, up from 69 percent who said the same in 2014.
The remaining 27 percent expect salaries to stay the same, with no respondents expecting salary decreases.
In addition, 43 percent of health care IT leaders expect hiring for full-time IT staff to increase--a decrease from 44 and 50 percent in 2014 and 2013, respectively--while 52 percent expect hiring to remain the same. Just 5 percent expect to see a decrease.
Forty-two percent of health care IT leaders expect hiring for contingent IT staff to increase (a drop from 48 and 52 percent in 2014 and 2013, respectively), while 52 percent expect hiring to remain the same, and only 6 percent expect to see a decrease.
Project managers rank as the toughest spot to fill, climbing two spots up from number three in 2014. Security, in second place, programmers and developers (third), software engineers (fourth) and architects (fifth) also ranked within the top five most difficult positions to fill.
In 2014 and 2015, project managers, help desk and technical support, and programmers and developers were cited as the top four roles most critical to enabling success.