Healthcare leaders boast higher digital IQ than most

Though technology is a top priority for executives around the globe, only one in five companies claim an excellent "digital IQ"--and healthcare execs are leading the pack, according to PriceWaterhouseCooper's sixth annual digital IQ survey.

Survey participants included 1,494 respondents from 38 different countries. Results showed 82 percent of healthcare organizations lead their peers from other industries in rating their CEOs as "active champions in the use of information technology to achieve their strategy." The average across all industries was 71 percent. The survey found a "digital CEO" is one of the five behaviors most important to raising an organization's digital IQ.

"Today, all roads lead to digital. From business strategy to execution, digital technology has become the foundation for everything we do," says Chris Curran, PwC advisory principal and chief technologist, in an announcement. "Simply put, you can't afford to underestimate digital. Through all of our research, CEOs have made it clear that they see both the promise and the peril of digital technology and we believe that charting their company's course in the digital age is the No. 1 challenge business leaders will face in 2014."

And the C-suite is having "digital conversations." The relationship between the CIO and the CMO in healthcare organizations was found to be the strongest across all industries--at 59 percent compared to 51 percent.

Healthcare companies also are concerned about data protection. They recorded the highest level of concern about data security, and 62 percent of respondents think their organizations are doing a good job to address these concerns.

"Healthcare had the highest level of active-champion CEOs, which is not surprising given that the focus on technology to transform patient care and reduce costs has been a key focus there for more than a decade," the report states.

Leading by example, giving patients better access to their health records and borrowing innovations from other industries all are good strategies to transform healthcare through technology, panelists said during HIMSS 2014 at FierceHealthIT's event, "Harnessing Technology and Data to Enable Accountable Care."

"If you are not embracing technology, you can't expect your patients to embrace it," Ed Marx, the CIO of Texas Health Resources and a FierceHealthIT Advisory Board member, said at the event.

If healthcare leaders can't live by example, they can't expect their clinicians to adopt technology, he said.

"I always turn back to myself and ask: 'What am I not doing? How am I going to lead by example?' It's the people in this very room who need to start it," he said.

To learn more:
- read the full report
- read an announcement of the results

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