It’s no surprise that COVID-19 has changed—and accelerated—the IT plans of most organizations, speeding up what once were multi-year technology strategies. A new global study conducted by MIT Technology Review Insights, in association with VMware, confirms as much. Based on a multi-industry study of 600 C-level technology executives and in-depth interviews from public- and private-sector organizations in three regions—Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North America, “Digital acceleration in the time of coronavirus,” examines the degree to which technology strategy contributed to corporate resilience during the ongoing pandemic. As part of the global survey, 80 healthcare executives were interviewed. Those insights are now available in a new report, MIT Executive Study Uncovers Top Healthcare Trends Shaping IT Resilience.
Healthcare IT Investments and Priorities
The research reveals that almost universally, 89% of healthcare executives are accelerating their digital transformation efforts in response to the crisis. Close to half (44%) anticipate budget increases, and more than half (51%) are increasing investments in patient experience. The most obvious investment areas include the ballooning of telehealth services worldwide, which is filling a much-needed gap in serving healthy populations.
The study also highlights the importance healthcare executives place on cloud and application modernization. Nearly four in ten healthcare respondents (39%) have accelerated adoption of a cloud-based platform that supports modern application development. A majority (54%) indicate that they have expanded their Agile practices and continuous delivery (CD) methods in response to demands resulting from COVID-19. A year ago, 9 in 10 healthcare executives in a Forrester Consulting global study of 100 healthcare CIOs and SVPs pointed to their application portfolios as key to improving the patient experience. During COVID-19, those efforts have taken on even more urgency.
Steady progress is also being made with respect to the cloud—from infrastructure- or platform-as-a-service (IaaS and PaaS) to patient and care provider-facing software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. Public cloud adoption increased during the crisis. Prior to COVID-19, on average 13% of applications in healthcare were hosted in the public cloud. This number is expected to jump to 21% over the next 18 months. Yet challenges remain, especially around compliance. More than two-thirds of healthcare leaders (68%) cite “maintaining governance and compliance regulations, for example, patching apps to meet security/compliance requirements” as a top application challenge because of expanded public cloud activities.
Like so many others, the healthcare industry is adjusting to a distributed workforce and a higher risk profile. In the MIT Technology Review Insights survey, more than half (52%) of healthcare leaders indicate they are allocating a “significant” share (more than 25%) of their IT budgets to security and threat management. And 58% of healthcare respondents indicate they will put more emphasis on defending against cyberattacks over the next 12 to 18 months—particularly endpoint risks.
Becoming Future Ready
Sudden, dramatic proof of the value of digital technologies has been evident to healthcare organizations since the start of the pandemic. Although most healthcare organizations had working business continuity plans, fewer than a third felt their plans were effective when attempting to cope with the shutdowns. When asked about business resilience, more than half (58%) of healthcare organizations surveyed cited infrastructure efficiency as key to success, with automation and adopting a multi-cloud strategy as the infrastructure initiatives most likely to be prioritized due to the pandemic.
Those having already incorporated highly flexible and agile digital technologies into their organizational processes and business strategies prior to the pandemic were best positioned for success at the onset—and in the uncertain times ahead. For others, differing enterprise technology priorities were quickly uncovered.
To learn more about the research and how the pandemic drove unique transformation in healthcare, read the report, MIT Executive Study Uncovers Top Healthcare Trends Shaping IT Resilience.