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Wednesday, 03 August 2022 11:00

SOTI research shows the digitisation of healthcare accelerates as device downtime and security concerns remain


GUEST RESEARCH: As the pandemic disrupted traditional patient service models, the healthcare sector quickly adopted remote and telehealth technology solutions. New global research from SOTI, A Critical Investment: Taking the Pulse of Technology in Healthcare, shows nearly all Australian healthcare providers (96%) that offer frontline services have now implemented IoT/telehealth medical device capabilities.

The increased adoption of new technologies in the healthcare sector is evident in 82% of Australian IT healthcare professionals indicating they have increased their annual technology spend since 2020.

The rise in healthcare IT investments appears to be focused on three key elements in Australia: interconnectivity, automation, and data management.

Research revealed that 83% of local IT healthcare professionals agree patient services benefit from heightened interconnectivity, 82% agree the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in patient care enables medical staff to treat more patients and 99% stated digital patient recordkeeping increases efficiency and enhances data sharing.

“Mobile and IoT devices helped healthcare organisations quickly adapt various models of patient care and improve health outcomes during the pandemic. Investments in IoT/telehealth medical device capabilities and technical infrastructure in healthcare are becoming vital in meeting critical care requirements,” said SOTI vice president of product strategy Shash Anand.

“Although the scale of device implementation across the entire medical sector is a strong indicator of digital maturity, improving outcomes in remote health monitoring and digital recordkeeping are ongoing areas of focus. Today, 63% of healthcare providers use remote patient monitoring wearable technologies, and a further 62% of clinics providing frontline patient services have 100% digital recordkeeping,” added Anand.

As part of its report, SOTI surveyed 1,300 healthcare IT professionals across the US, Canada, Mexico, UK, Germany, Sweden, France and Australia to understand how their organisations pivoted to provide patient care throughout the pandemic, the role technology played in delivering positive patient outcomes and what major obstacles remain.

Data security an ongoing concern
Today, IT healthcare professionals are worried about patient information being revealed, lost, accessed, stolen or inadequately backed up. These are justified concerns.

Since 2020, a staggering 44% of Australian healthcare organisations experienced a data breach from an outside source (such as a DDoS attack), and a further 47% experienced a data leak from an employee (be that planned or accidental). Australian healthcare IT professionals are primarily focused on the following data security concerns:

- Patient information being lost (40%)
- Patient information being revealed without patient consent (38%)
- Patient records being stolen in a cyberattack or hacking (36%)

In addition, 67% of local IT professionals believe patient data security is more at risk now than ever before, while 51% agree their organisation does not spend enough money on patient data security.

“Healthcare organisations have a duty of care to patients, which extends to keeping their private and sensitive data safe and secure. With data leaks and digital security breaches becoming all too common, healthcare providers must adopt device management solutions which go beyond protecting a server and include all ranges of mobile devices used by healthcare workers or any medical equipment linked to digital apps,” said SOTI vice president of sales APAC Michael Dyson.

“With the ability to be managed remotely, today’s advanced mobile solutions can lockdown missing or compromised devices remotely and create user personas with different levels of security access. This means the same device can be used by different healthcare workers on different shifts, giving them access to the specific levels of information they need for their role, without creating any unnecessary security risks,” added Dyson.

Addressing device downtime
A move towards digitisation and eliminating outdated manual and paper processes enables healthcare providers to focus on patients and reduce the burden of administrative tasks that distract from caregiving responsibilities.

However, when technologies are not properly implemented or maintained, costly device downtime can hinder a healthcare workers’ ability to provide critical care.

Globally, 60% of healthcare IT professionals surveyed said their organisation experiences downtime with IoT/telehealth medical devices, leading to patient care delays.

Overall, 92% of healthcare IT professionals have experienced an issue of some kind, with 58% citing systems not integrating effectively and 52% noting frequent technical issues.

In Australia, all of this leads to each healthcare employee losing approximately 3.6 hours per week on average due to technical or system difficulties. Based on country data, 21 days per year are lost per local healthcare worker to device downtime.

“The digitisation of healthcare processes and patient care services is globally accelerating across the healthcare industry because it makes employees’ lives easier while making data more secure and accessible. However, to improve the level of day-to-day treatment and avoid patient care delays due to device downtime, healthcare IT professionals must ensure they have an advanced diagnostic intelligence solution in place to provide device support remotely and performance visibility across all devices,” concluded Anand.

A Critical Investment: Taking the Pulse of Technology in Healthcare can be downloaded here.

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