Tech reviews

Health systems boost tech spending to tackle cost, labor pressures

Hospitals and health systems are increasing spending on technology and software that can improve productivity and alleviate cost and labor pressures, according to Bain & Company and Klas Research.

While large, urban health systems ramped up tech investments during the pandemic, smaller, rural systems with tighter budgets hit reduced spending to balance investment priorities with financial pressures. But many systems that paused tech spending have fallen behind on pre-pandemic investment strategies and are struggling to navigate an explosion of vendor offerings.

However, over the last year or so, as pandemic conditions eased, many providers have ramped up software investments, according to the report. About 45 percent of providers accelerated software investment over the past year, with only 10 percent decelerating spending.

Of those accelerating investments over the past year, almost 80 percent cite inflation, staffing shortages or specific organizational situations — such as leadership changes or a merger/acquisition — as the top catalysts spurring new investments. 

This year, 95 percent of providers are expected to purchase new technologies; those that can improve productivity or reduce labor costs are in high demand. Providers cited revenue cycle management, patient intake/flow, clinical systems and telehealth as the most strategically important investments.

Artificial intelligence-powered scheduling, virtual nurses, remote patient monitoring and chatbots designed to provide medical advice to pregnant patients are among the health system investments Becker’s Hospital Review has reported on in the last month.

Rising investment in these technologies confirms that healthcare operations significantly affect a health system’s overall financial health, according to Bain & Co.


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