HIMSS18: 6 key data points from US leadership, workforce survey

As the healthcare professionals touch down in Las Vegas for the 2018 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the organization released its annual survey of the marketplace.

HIMSS published the 2018 U.S. HIMSS Leadership and Workforce Survey on March 6, which examines trends in employment, technology and expectations.

“The present report provides a robust profile of U.S. health information and technology priorities, especially as it relates to hospitals, as well as their linkage to various hospital strategic initiatives (e.g. employment of select information and technology leaders) and industry economic measures (e.g. workforce projections),” HIMSS outlines in the executive summary.

The report includes feedback from 369 organizations—224 providers, including hospitals, outpatient clinics and nursing homes, and 145 health IT vendors/consultants. Authors of the 30-page report noted a high level of consistency in priorities between 2017 and 2018.

Some key findings of the survey include:

Rethinking cybersecurity: Patient safety remained the top priority for hospitals in 2017 and 2018. But privacy and cybersecurity jumped from eighth last year to second in 2018.

Broad solutions: Electronic health records (EHRs) and population health both tumbled as hospitals’ priorities. EHRs dropped six spots to No. 8 in 2018, while population health went from the fourth priority in 2017 to 14th this year.

Health IT IQ: Among vendors and consultants, data analytics/clinical intelligence jumped to the top overall priority in 2018 from the ninth spot a year prior.

Who’s in charge? Some 87 percent of hospitals employ a chief information officer in 2018, an increase of 9 percent in a year.

Cutting back: 43 percent of hospitals expect to decrease their operating budget, compared to 24 percent who expect an increase.

What vacancy? Hospitals reported a significant increase in staffing, with 56 percent saying they are fully staffed, an increase of 27 percent from 2017.

“The evidence in this report suggests hospitals employ a wide array of information and technology leaders, and that the influence of these individuals appears to be expanding,” according to the survey authors. “Vendors/consultants looking to extend their influence within hospital settings are therefore encouraged to be very purposeful in establishing and managing their relationships with an array of hospital information and technology executives.”