TEKsystems: Healthcare IT Leaders Continue to Expect Budget Increases in 2015

IT RecruitingLeading into HIMSS15, TEKsystems, a provider of IT staffing solutions, IT talent management expertise and IT services, highlights results that explore the current state of IT operations at healthcare organizations. The findings identify key objectives and challenges for healthcare IT teams, the skills most needed to meet those demands, as well as expectations for spending and confidence. The data is gleaned from information captured within TEKsystems’ 2013–2015 annual IT forecasts as reported by IT leaders (CIOs, IT VPs, IT directors, IT hiring managers) at healthcare organizations.

Key findings from the data include:

Expectations for IT Budget Growth Decrease in 2015; Yet Confidence Continues to Increase

  • Fifty-one percent of respondents expect their organization’s healthcare IT budget to increase in 2015, down from 68 percent that said the same entering 2014, and returning to levels seen entering 2013 (52 percent). Thirty-eight percent expect IT budgets to stay the same, a significant increase over 2014 (23 percent) and similar to levels of 2013 (41 percent).
  • Sixty-four percent are confident in their IT department’s ability to satisfy business demands in 2015, an increase over the 59 and 58 percent that felt confident heading into 2014 and 2013, respectively. Ten percent indicated they are unconfident in 2015, the same percentage as 2014 and down from 2013 (13 percent).
  • TEKsystems’ Take: Expectations for budget increases began to normalize last year. Following the ICD-10 extension by Congress, IT leaders felt less pressure to seek additional funding to meet those deadlines. Confidence has continued to grow even as budget increases have leveled out, now that organizations have core personnel in place or have developed other plans, such as outsourcing, to address workload concerns.

IT Support Aligns with Business Challenges; Focus Is on Improving Operations and Efficiency

Organizational Challenge 2014 Rank 2015 Rank (% of IT leaders)
Operational issues 2 1 (81%)
Risk management 1 2 (79%)
Revenue 3 3 (67%)
Workforce management 4 4 (59%)
Customer attraction, retention and satisfaction 5 5 (22%)
  • Over the last three years, operationally focused areas (e.g., improving efficiency, reducing costs, improving existing IT applications and infrastructure, and managing risk) have all been cited within the top five business objectives that most need IT support.


Business Objective 2015 Rank (% of IT leaders)
Improving efficiency 1 (49%)
Reducing costs 2 (42%)
Improving existing IT applications and infrastructure 3 (37%)
Managing risk 4 (34%)
Delivering operational results 5 (29%)
  • TEKsystems’ Take: Now that healthcare organizations have identified the biggest challenges facing them in 2015, they are working to align IT support priorities to address those challenges. They have laid the foundations for their large IT initiatives and must shift focus to ensure that they are implementing new projects and establishing best practices in a way that allows them to make the most of existing investments. Increasing efficiency and making the most of these implementations will better position them to take on other projects in the future.

Most Impactful Technology Trends Include Business Intelligence (BI) / Big Data, Security, Mobility, Consumerization and Cloud; Expected Spending Increases Mirror These Areas

  • Over the last two years, healthcare IT leaders listed BI/Big Data, security, mobility and consumerization of IT/BYOD as the top four trends impacting their organizations.
Area of Impact 2014 Rank 2015 Rank (% of IT leaders)
BI / Big Data 4 1 (61%)
Security 3 2 (54%)
Mobility 1 3 (42%)
Consumerization of IT / BYOD 2 4 (38%)
Cloud 6 5 (31%)
  • The majority of healthcare IT leaders expect to see spending increases in security (70 percent), mobility (61 percent), BI/Big Data (60 percent) and cloud (55 percent).
  • TEKsystems’ Take: These expectations for spending increases make sense considering that security, mobility, BI/Big Data and cloud are all cited as the most impactful areas and tend to have some interdependencies. These areas play a large part in how healthcare organizations can increase operational efficiency and risk management.

Hands-on Roles Still Most Critical For Success, Also Most Difficult to Fill with Exceptional Talent

  • “Doers” continue to be cited as the most critical positions for an organization to achieve success. In 2014 and 2015, project managers, help desk / technical support and programmers and developers were cited within the top four roles most critical to enabling success.
Critical Role 2014 Rank 2015 Rank (% of IT leaders)
Project managers 2 1 (51%)
Help desk / Technical support 3 2 (47%)
Programmers / Developers 1 3 (45%)
IT managers 7 4 (40%)
Software engineers 6 5 (37%)
  • In terms of the most difficult roles to fill, project managers rank as the No. 1, climbing two spots up from No. 3 in 2014. Security (No. 2), programmers and developers (No. 3), software engineers (No. 4) and architects (No. 5) also ranked within the top five most difficult positions to fill. BI (ranked No. 11 in 2013) ranks as the sixth most difficult position to fill, down from No. 5 in 2014.
  • More than half of healthcare IT leaders expect salary increases for project managers (55 percent), software engineers (53 percent) and programmers and developers (52 percent). Approximately one-third (34 percent) expect increased salaries for help desk / technical support.
  • TEKsystems’ Take: It’s not surprising that project managers and programmers and developers remain in the top four most difficult positions to fill, as these staff members are in the trenches ensuring that organizations continue to make the most of their IT investments to increase ease of use and efficiency. This value translates into greater expectations for salary increases as organizations seek to retain their developed talent.

Vast Majority Expect Staff Salaries to Rise; More Than Two out of Five Expect Full-time and Contingent Hiring Increases

  • Seventy-three percent of healthcare IT leaders expect overall IT salaries to increase in 2015. The remaining 27 percent expect salaries to stay the same, with no respondents expecting salary decreases.
  • Forty-three percent of healthcare IT leaders expect hiring for full-time IT staff to increase, while 52 percent expect hiring to remain the same. Just 5 percent expect to see a decrease.
  • Forty-two percent of healthcare IT leaders expect hiring for contingent IT staff to increase, while 52 percent expect hiring to remain the same. Only 6 percent expect to see a decrease.
  • TEKsystems’ Take: As more work is done to make the most of investments in BI / Big Data, security, mobility and consumerization of IT / BYOD, organizations will need to at least maintain their full-time and contingent workforces in order to cultivate efficiency and make progress. While retaining top talent by increasing salaries will be a key tactic, new staff will need to be brought on as projects expand.

“Last year, we saw an early surge in the numbers of healthcare IT leaders expecting to see budget increases due to the overarching mandate to meet the former ICD-10 implementation deadline and to get new healthcare technology initiatives off the ground,” said Ryan Skains, executive director of TEKsystems Healthcare Services. “We are seeing those numbers level out as organizations not only make headway on the projects they have begun, but as they increasingly become confident in their staff’s expanding expertise and ability to meet major deadlines. Moving forward, the focus will be on refining systems and processes to increase efficiency and growth opportunity.”

What Healthcare Changes Lie Ahead: Wearables and Consumerization

Bill Balderaz

Prior to launching Webbed Marketing (the previous name of Fathom Columbus), founder Bill Balderaz worked with some of the largest publishers in the world to plan, execute and measure Internet marketing programs. He began working on search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising and link-building in 1998, prior to the launch of Google. He has spoken on Internet marketing topics at events sponsored by the Public Relations Society of America, the American Marketing Association and the National Fuel Funds Network. Bill holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations journalism from Bowling Green State University and an MBA from Franklin University.

Here, he discusses health IT trends, the future of wearables as he sees them and the consumerization of healthcare.

What are the biggest changes we will see in 2015 in terms of healthcare technology?

Hospitals and health systems across the country will be adopting or upgrading EHRs, telehealth capabilities, and mobile tools. Look for increased reliance on and more sophisticated use of data analytics, as well as individualized medicine, ‘doctor-less’ patient models, and quantification of population health via social media.  Patients will take more control of their health.

Also look for integration. Patients have so many inputs: lab results, wearable data, fitness plans. Then they have outputs, newsletters, emails, patient portals. The smart money is on the technology to connect and simplify.

What is driving these changes?

At the consumer level, where patients are more informed and involved than ever, what some call the ‘democratized future’ of healthcare is bringing more accountability and transparency to both the methods and costs of care. The parallel needs to cut skyrocketing costs, increase access to care, improve quality of service, and encourage patient engagement are all factors contributing to the growing potential of health IT to transform the delivery and experience of healthcare at fundamental levels.

You work with healthcare systems across the country in a variety of markets. What trends are common to all hospitals and healthcare systems? What differences do you see?

Continue Reading