Healthcare takes cautious approach to new technology

Early adopters of technology are more likely to lead in revenue growth and market position, according to a study conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and sponsored by Verizon, though healthcare tends to take a cautious approach.

The study found only 27 percent of healthcare organizations seek out that early advantage, compared with 36 percent that buy new technology after others have proven its benefits, and 35 percent that wait until something has become well established, according to the breakout of healthcare responses from the 672 total executives polled.

"We found ... organizations that adopt technologies earlier have significantly larger growth rates, year over year, than followers or cautious organizations in all industries, and the same things applied to healthcare. While the attitude within healthcare is playing it safe, while it's perceived they fall closer to the cautious range, those that are pioneers see substantial benefits," Chris Davis, senior solutions architect at Verizon Enterprise Solutions, told InformationWeek.

The responding healthcare execs said technology had somewhat or significantly changed:

  • Strategy and business models (57 percent)
  • Responsiveness to customers (63 percent)
  • Internal collaboration (63 percent)
  • Employee productivity (68 percent)
  • Security of data (65 percent)

In addition, 64 percent of healthcare organizations reported they had extensively adopted mobile technology. At the same time, 36 percent of respondents said their organization's aversion to risk was the biggest barrier to adopting technology.

The majority of healthcare respondents (61 percent) said changing customer behavior and expectations were the biggest driver in their markets.

Deloitte's 2014 Survey of U.S. Physicians found nine of 10 respondents interested in mHealth technology that has clinical value. They're less enthusiastic than patients about mHealth's capabilities for health monitoring, citing worries about security and privacy. And three out of four say EHRs increase costs and do not save time.

However, physicians may also worry that adopting new tools may take up more time. In research published at JAMA Internal Medicine, family practice physicians reported EHRs cost them 48 minutes of free time per clinic day.

Robert Pearl, M.D., writing in Forbes, also says that the fear of technology slowing things down instead of speeding them up may play a role in healthcare's cautious embrace of technology. 

To learn more:
- read the main report
- here's the healthcare report
- read the InformationWeek story
- check out the Deloitte survey

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