Providers report significant IT budget increases for 2024

A new report from Guidehouse finds that as healthcare systems continue to face cybersecurity threats and operational complexities, they are finding that they need to make greater investments to strengthen cybersecurity postures and technology capabilities.

Based on a survey of 144 healthcare provider executives conducted by the Healthcare Financial Management Association, Chief Financial Officers and other healthcare executives reported seeing digital and IT budgets increase by an average of 18.3% between 2019 and 2023.

One in five cited increases of more than 30% over that period, according to an announcement Monday from Guidehouse.

Since 2019, 70% of providers have updated their digital and IT decision structures, processes or capabilities.

Most notably, the Health System Digital & IT Investment Trends 2024 report shows that more than 85% of health systems are increasing their digital and IT budgets by 2024, with nearly half expecting moderate to significant increases. The majority of respondents cited resource needs and operational implementation costs.

Top investment priorities are cybersecurity (55%), electronic health record modernization (46%), digital health (32%), and advanced analytics, AI and machine learning (31%).

Of those reducing or not changing their digital and IT budgets by 2024, 72% say they don’t have the funding to do so, Guidehouse says.

In March, the Biden-Harris administration proposed significant healthcare IT spending through 2024 to improve and deepen cross-sector collaboration to defend critical infrastructure, with major earmarks for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency ($3.1 billion) , the Office of Veterans Affairs (more than $8 billion to upgrade IT and electronic health records), and other agencies.

President Joe Biden on Friday prevent a government shutdown by signing a temporary spending bill passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate that funds four federal agencies until January 19, 2024, and the rest until February 2. gives Congress more time to negotiate long-term spendingreports National Public Radio.

Meanwhile, many healthcare cybersecurity leaders are facing pressure as budgets are restrained by the economy but cyber attacks continue to intensify, according to the 2023 Voice of the CISO report released by Proofpoint in September .

Smaller hospitals rich in protected health information, but struggling with financial stability are also feeling the threat as a prime target of healthcare ransomware attacks, with some calling on the government to create incentives specifically for them.

Wes Wright, Ordr’s chief healthcare officer, explained to Healthcare IT News this week that small hospitals cannot afford to protect large electronic attack surfaces.

“The smaller community hospitals have a bigger problem than everyone else” — having to choose between cybersecurity and patient care equipment, he said.

“Success in 2024 and beyond will require investment strategies rooted in pragmatic objectives to generate meaningful and measurable returns,” Matt Onesko, partner at Guidehouse, said in a statement.