News Feature | September 22, 2014

IT Adoption: Too Many Hospitals In ‘Watch And Wait' Mode

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Hospitals Delaying Health IT Adoption

A new report issued by the Harvard Business Review and Verizon finds only one percent of healthcare industry leaders cite major changes in business models.

For hospitals, being bold may be the key to survival, according to a new report from Verizon and Harvard Business Review.

The Digital Dividend: First Mover Advantage surveyed 672 business and technology leaders from around the world, including 74 healthcare respondents, on the impact of what HBR Analytic Services calls the “Big Five Technologies” – mobile, social, cloud computing, advanced analytics, and machine to machine communications. Based on their attitude toward technology, companies were put into one of three groups: pioneers, followers, and cautious companies.

The study shows early adoption of new technologies leads to better business outcomes, and pioneers are launching more products and expanding more than companies in the followers and cautious groups. Companies that believe strongly in the benefits of adopting new technologies and pursue first-mover advantage – the IT Pioneers – are more likely to lead in both revenue growth and market position, adapt more easily to new ways of doing business, and are transforming all aspects of their businesses faster than other companies.

Twenty-three percent of these companies experienced over 30 percent revenue growth. This is more than twice the growth experienced by companies identified as technology “Followers” (those that watch and invest once benefits are proven) and three times the growth experienced by “Cautious” technology adopters (those that wait until a technology is well established).

Many executives interviewed for this research described the need for constant innovation and a culture of change in order to stay one step ahead. The main reason given for not adopting new technologies was cultural resistance to change within the respondent’s organization.

“Organizations need to be constantly innovating in order to stay ahead of the curve, and this study shows that technology is a key enabler of business growth,” said Tony Recine, CMO – Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

When it comes to healthcare organizations, providers tend to delay adoption of new technologies until proven and 90 percent of respondents found that technology had changed their products and services. Additionally, 72 percent used cloud computing.

Among the healthcare sector, 27 percent stated their company sought to get first mover advantage, 36 percent invest in new technology once benefits are established, and 35 percent stated they generally wait until benefits have been long established.

When it comes to the primary factors driving change in the market, healthcare respondents saw changing customer behavior and expectations as most important (61 percent), followed by increased regulation (57 percent), commoditization  and a drive for cost savings (41 percent), and increased availability and use of market/customer data (30 percent).

Ultimately, in the healthcare sector, respondents assessed how their core business strategy and business model has changed, with 30 percent saying moderately changed, another 30 percent saying slightly changed, 27 percent replying significantly changed, 12 percent not changed at all, and only 1 percent completely transformed.