Health information technology departments will be spending less in 2016, but leaders are increasingly confident their folks can meet organizational demands.
The dip in spending is because organizations “have become increasingly comfortable,” having “turned the corner” on meeting federal requirements under the EHR incentive payment program, according to Hanover, Md.-based TEKsystems.
The IT staffing and services firm found that just 41% of IT leaders surveyed are expecting a boost in their budgets in 2016. That's the lowest expectation level since the company started doing the surveys four years ago.
“In 2014, regulatory changes drove spending up, but now healthcare leaders have grown past the threshold of building applications or interoperability coding and are looking to get a return on investment,” said Ryan Skains, executive director of TEKsystems's healthcare services division. Hiring is stabilizing with slight increases expected, and salaries are expected to increase for skill sets that will be critical for this digital modernization,” Skains said.
Last year, 51% were expecting a budget bump. More leaders (49%) indicated their IT staffing levels would stay the same compared with 48% who expect them to increase.
Still, when asked, “How confident are you in your IT department's ability to satisfy overall organizational demands this year?”, 68% of survey respondents indicated they were “confident,” the highest level in four years, while 24% were “neutral,” and only 8% were “unconfident.”
Security concerns will have the biggest effect on organizations in 2016, said 60% of respondents. That's compared with business intelligence/big data, which was last year's top concern, at 58%, followed by mobility, 55%; cloud computing, 49%; and consumerization of IT/ “bring your own device,” 47%.
Spending on security is expected to increase this year, per 73% of IT leaders surveyed, up 3 percentage points from 2015 to the highest level in four years. But top information security personnel are the hardest IT people to find, according to the survey.