Cybersecurity improvements are top of mind for health IT executives in the coming year, but they're planning a more cautious approach when it comes to technologies like wearables and artificial intelligence, according to a new survey.
The Pittsburgh-based Center for Connected Medicine, a partner of UPMC, and the Health Management Academy surveyed IT leaders at more than 20 major U.S. health systems and found that 92% plan to increase spending technology to improve cybersecurity next year.
However, close to two-thirds (63%) said that trying AI solutions was a low or very low priority for 2018.
"Fine-tuning of EHR is a top priority, as well as cybersecurity," one CIO said. "These are not cutting-edge things; … it's more about maintaining."
The health systems participating in the survey said they would invest resources to boost employees working on cybersecurity, too. Sixty-seven percent said they planned to hire new cybersecurity staff and 42% plan to expand IT leadership.
IT leaders said they want to be more proactive in detecting and preventing cyberattacks or data breaches. Fifty-four percent of respondents said they want to invest in better identification technologies, including risk assessment and education initiatives, and 50% said they plan to invest in protection and detection programs.
One CIO categorized their system as "cautiously prepared" for cyberthreats, a sentiment expressed by a number of respondents. Those surveyed said that although their health systems are prepared for threats, the uncertainty as to what form the next cyberattack might take is a challenge.
In addition to being hesitant to adopt AI tech, many of the surveyed executives were not fully sold on wearables or mobile apps. Most (88%) said patient portals provided valuable sources of patient data, while 46% said the same about home monitoring equipment.
However, just 21% said mobile apps provide valuable data, and 17% said the same about wearables.
There is a demand for patient-generated data, though, the survey found. Fifty-four percent of the health systems included in the study already integrate patient-generated data into their EHR, and 33% do not, but plan to next year.