Early this year, as members of Congress heated up the debate on the merits and faults of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, our readers went to the polls themselves in a referendum of sorts on healthcare information technology and its role in their hospitals and physician office practices.
The 19th annual Modern Healthcare/Modern Physician Survey of Executive Opinions on Key Information Technology Issues opened in early January when legislation containing tens of billions of dollars for healthcare IT subsidies was still pending in both the House and Senate. By the time the survey ended in late February, the stimulus package had become law.
However, spending plans for most healthcare organizationson which many of the following responses were basedwere set well before our survey questionnaire was posted online, and long before President Barack Obama signed the stimulus bill into law in mid-February. That might explain why the coming IT subsidies are reflected only modestly in the IT survey results this year.
Lets break it down.
When it comes to one measure of current IT spendingbudgetingthe sweet spot for many of our survey respondents was an IT budget of between 2.1% and 3.5% of the total operating budget of their organization. Nearly half (49.3%) of all respondents indicated their IT budgets fell within that range.
Some 15.4% of all respondents indicated their current IT budgets are in the range of 2.1% to 2.5% of their overall operating budget, 17.9% of respondents are budgeting in the range of 2.6% to 3%, and 16% of respondents have IT budgets at 3.1% to 3.5% of their operating budgets. The median for all respondents is within the 2.6% to 3% range.
Comparing the above numbers with those last year, there wasnt much change. The
median for IT spending last year was also in the 2.6% to 3% range, with 18% of respondents choosing that range, again making it the most commonly selected. One difference between this year and last is the presence this year of a deviance for increased spending in the range just above the median. Last year, just 6% of respondents reported IT spending in the next highest range above the median, 3.1% to 3.5%.
This years larger percentage of 16% in that range could reflect the positivism spurred by the debate over IT subsidies in the economic stimulus package.
Respondents also predicted, comparing past performance with future expectations, that they see little change coming in the relationship between capital spending for IT and overall capital spending for their organizations.