• David Chou

Where is your IT budgeted headed?

"Impact of the IT budget for #healthcare#cio in 2020/2021 due to covid-19".

The current pandemic has shifted priorities for healthcare providers. Elective surgeries are canceled to focus on covid-19 patients while the non-essential workforce has transitioned to a home office. The shift in the workforce will have an impact on the IT budget, and here is the trend for 2020 and early 2021.

  • Short term investment in technology for the remote workforce and virtual care - Healthcare organizations were not prepared for the massive shift to working from home. CIOs had to ramp up their infrastructure for the following areas:

  1. virtual desktop service

  2. remote desktop as a service

  3. VPN licenses

  4. mobile device management licenses

  5. video conferencing solution licenses

  6. remote security monitoring tools

  7. increasing bandwidth to accommodate the 13-17x increase in staff working from home.

  • Core IT infrastructure focus - Many healthcare organizations lack the necessary IT foundation (core infrastructure). Healthcare organizations have made expensive investments in the infrastructure already. The requirements have changed, and the emphasis has to be on speed and agility. Here is the key question to ask? How long does it take you to set up a new site or extension of your facility? If the answer is more than 1-2 days max, then it is time to reevaluate your infrastructure ASAP. Software-defined networks will be the theme for CIOs and CTOs during the evaluation of the core infrastructure.

  • New projects are on hold - CIOs will evaluate their 2020 plans, and the new initiatives are all on hold. I expect the projects that are focusing on enhancing the remote workforce, IT security, and telemedicine will continue to progress while other initiatives are on pause. The enterprise transformation projects on the radar for healthcare organizations such as clinical communications, cloud ERP upgrades, RPA, and healthcare CRM are on hold.

  • Cost-cutting - IT budget is not going to increase in 2020, so CIOs must be creative with their cost-cutting initiative to pay for the additional infrastructure investment. I expect intense negotiations on contract renewals and potential new projects. Health systems are trying very hard not to lay off employees, and with IT operating as a large budget holder in the organization, I expect an adjustment for 2020 and 2021 IT budget for every health system.

Here is a great comment from Verizon media CIO as I tweeted this blog out


In conclusion, 2020 is already a tough year for innovations since many organizations were playing catch up implementing old initiatives from 2018/2019. 2020 is a pause year to catch up, and now with the crisis, not many organizations have the money to "try things out" and pilot innovative projects.

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ABOUT David Chou

David Chou serves as the SVP/CIO for Harris Health System.  Chou has held executive roles with the Cleveland Clinic, Children's Mercy Hospital, University Of Mississippi Medical Center, AHMC Healthcare, and Prime Healthcare.  

David is a dynamic keynote speaker and industry commentator working with clients to transform their business models using technology. He has spoken around the world at healthcare tech-related conference including keynotes for leading industry events and intimate executive settings. Chou is also one of the most mentioned CIOs in the media and well quoted in outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Modern Healthcare, HIMSS Media, ZDNet, CIO.com, Huffington Post, and Becker's Healthcare.  David is an active member of both ACHE and HIMSS while serving on the board for CHIME. 

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