The Economic and Productivity Impact of IT Security on Healthcare

The use of pagers and other outdated communication technologies in healthcare wastes time, increases patient discharge time and has a cumulative industry-wide economic impact of more than $8.3 billion annually.

These are a few of the key takeaways from an Imprivata-sponsored study by the Ponemon Institute entitled “The Economic and Productivity Impact of IT Security on Healthcare.”

The transition from paper-based to electronic medical records has created a dichotomy for the healthcare industry that remains difficult to reconcile. While the implementation of new technologies is designed to improve efficiency and enhance patient care, it also has the potential to introduce risk, so IT departments must ensure that these new systems meet security and regulatory compliance requirements to keep private information protected. As organizations struggle to strike this balance, the use of pagers and other outdated communications technologies continues as the status quo.

To determine the economic and productivity impact of this paradigm on the healthcare industry, the Ponemon Institute surveyed 577 clinicians, IT practitioners and other healthcare professionals. Overwhelmingly, respondents agreed that the continued use of pagers and other outdated communication technologies decreases productivity, increases discharge times and limits doctor/patient interaction.

Click here to download the full report.

Key findings include:

  • According to the study, clinicians waste an average of more than 45 minutes each day due to the use of pagers and other outdated communication technologies, costing the U.S. healthcare industry more than $5.1 billion annually.
  • Similar deficiencies in communications lengthen patient discharge time, which currently averages about 101 minutes. Sixty-five percent of survey respondents believe that secure text messaging can cut discharge time by 50 minutes, which the Ponemon Institute estimates could generate more than $3.1 billion in revenue per year across the healthcare industry.
  • The majority of survey respondents say HIPAA compliance requirements can be a barrier to providing effective patient care by reducing time available for patient care, making access to electronic patient information difficult and restricting the use of electronic communications.