IoT’s digitisation of healthcare speeds up but device downtime and security concerns remain, says SOTI

As the pandemic disrupted traditional patient service models, the healthcare sector overwhelmingly adopted remote and telehealth technology solutions. New global research from SOTI, A critical investment: Taking the pulse of technology in healthcare, shows nearly all global healthcare providers (98%) offering frontline services have implemented IoT/telehealth medical device capabilities.

The increased adoption of new technologies in the healthcare sector is evident in 73% of 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: interconnectivity, automation and data management. Research revealed that 75% of IT healthcare professionals agree patient services benefit from heightened interconnectivity, 72% agree the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in patient care enables medical staff to treat more patients and 94% stated digital patient recordkeeping increases efficiency and enhances data sharing.

As part of its report, SOTI surveyed 1,300 healthcare IT professionals across the U.S., 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.

“Following the COVID-19 pandemic, mobile and IoT devices have become vital for healthcare organisations, allowing them to quickly adapt to changing circumstances, alter patient care methods and improve health outcomes. Almost all UK healthcare providers (97%) offering frontline services have now invested in IoT/telehealth medical device capabilities,” says Stefan Spendrup, VP of sales, Northern and Western Europe at SOTI.

Stefan Spendrup

“UK healthcare organisations are scaling up device implementation in the medical industry, which demonstrates an increased digital focus in the UK. Increased digitalisation in the healthcare sector allows professionals to improve patient care and outcomes with remote health monitoring and digital recordkeeping. Today 70% of UK healthcare providers have already implemented remote health monitoring, with a further 51% of UK clinics providing frontline patient services with 100% digital recordkeeping,” says Spendrup.

Data security an ongoing concern

Regarding data security, 86% of IT healthcare professionals are worried about patient information being revealed, lost, accessed, stolen or inadequately backed up. These are justified concerns as a staggering 70% of organisations have experienced a data breach since 2020. Healthcare IT professionals are primarily focused on the following data security concerns:

  • Patient records being stolen in a cyberattack or hacking (39%)
  • Patient information being revealed without patient consent (36%)
  • Patient information being lost (36%)

In addition, 57% of IT professionals believe patient data security is more at risk than ever, while 46% agree their organisation does not spend enough money on data security.

Addressing device downtime

A move towards digitisation and eliminating outdated manual and paper processes enables healthcare providers to focus on patients and reduces 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 worker’s ability to provide critical care.

Globally, 60% of healthcare IT professionals in general medical practices/clinics 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. All of this leads to each healthcare employee losing approximately 3.5 hours per week due to technical or system difficulties. On average, 21 working days are lost per employee annually.

A Critical Investment: Taking the pulse of technology in healthcare can be downloaded here.

Report Methodology

Using an online methodology, SOTI conducted 1,300 interviews with IT professionals in organisations providing frontline patient-facing healthcare services with 50+ employees across eight countries. All participants are aged 18 and over. Fieldwork was conducted from June 7 to 14, 2022. The interviews are split across eight markets as follows: U.S. (200 interviews), Canada (150 interviews), Mexico (150 interviews), UK (200 interviews), Germany (150 interviews), Sweden (150 interviews), France (150 interviews) and Australia (150 interviews).

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