Panel: Cloud, mobile use among biggest health IT challenges

Concerns about the viability and security of mobile devices were among several issues brought up by health IT leaders with regard to network challenges and barriers as outlined in a newly released HIMSS Analytics report. The report, which was based on a small focus group convened at HIMSS13 in March, also found that while the participants shared similar infrastructure priorities, they differed in their plans for taking action on those priorities.

With regard to a bring-your-own-device policy, for instance, while one panel member talked about taking a "slow approach" to implementation, another said that organizations would have no choice but to evolve as employee demand grows.

Additionally, while some participants expressed trepidation with regard to cloud computing, others said they felt comfortable using a private cloud hosted by their software vendor.

"As the healthcare industry becomes increasingly focused on utilizing technology to improve patient care, health IT leaders are examining their network infrastructures to ensure they have a strong, reliable and scalable foundation," Karen Schmidt, vice president of enterprise marketing for Comcast, which sponsored the survey, said in a statement.

Executive support also was talked about as a potential barrier to creating a reliable network infrastructure by the focus group. "While some participants indicated that their executive teams were supportive of the investment  needed to acquire and maintain the organization's infrastructure, this [was] not a universal experience," the report authors wrote. "Several participants reported that they had to educate their executive team about the nature of networks, including the fact that licenses need to be upgraded annually, and that additional staff may be needed to support different types of technology."  

A report by Level 3 Communications published in February found network security and infrastructure upgrades to be among healthcare CIOs' top priorities for 2013. According to an (ISC)2  report released the same month, however, many healthcare security pros said they were understaffed.

To learn more:
- read the report (.pdf)
- here's the accompanying announcement

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