Most nonprofit hospitals plan to increase capital spending (45 percent) or stick to current spending levels (35 percent) over the next five years, according to new a Fitch Ratings survey. And the bulk of those growing investments will go towards health information technology.
Nonprofit hospitals rated health IT as 1.7 on a scale from 1 to 5 (the least important), as it would help them control costs, improve quality and adjust to new reimbursement models.
However, investment in inpatient facilities was considered the lowest priority (3.9), according to the ratings agency. In fact, 73 percent said their inpatient facilities and capacity are adequate for the next five years.
Amid the trend of healthcare consolidation, the survey also showed that nonprofit hospitals are teaming up with other healthcare organizations to better achieve strategic benefits like a wider range of operations and more diverse service offerings.
The ratings agency's findings are similar to a survey released earlier this month by Premier Inc., which found that most of the hospitals planning to increase capital spending this year are directing their biggest investments toward health IT and telecommunications.