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Research: Healthcare Orgs Struggling with Staffing Shortages, Cybersecurity Threats; Uncovers Critical Need for Network and Technology Upgrades to Ease Pain

New research from Extreme Networks, Inc., titled "Emerging from the COVID Pandemic," conducted in partnership with the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), uncovered that several of the major challenges impacting clinical productivity in healthcare, including staffing, budget shortages and cybersecurity threats, may all be symptoms of a larger underlying issue: insufficient investment in technology, specifically network infrastructure, to support the needs of modern healthcare organizations. The survey polled 100 healthcare executives and IT/tech decision-makers in the US.

"Organizations across the healthcare industry are often facing similar hurdles related to staffing shortages, budget constraints and cybersecurity. But as observed in this survey, some organizations are beginning to prioritize improvements to their network so they can increase security, boost the performance of existing applications and devices as well as more easily add new innovative technologies that make staff more efficient, helping eliminate many of the common issues they are reporting," said Nicole Ramage, Market Intelligence Manager, HIMSS

"Healthcare providers were forced to rapidly adopt new technology over the past several years, and our research shows that this has seriously exacerbated existing tech debt built up by applying band-aid solutions to networks that were never designed to handle thousands of devices, bandwidth-heavy applications or highly active users. The network is a strategic investment when it comes to helping organizations overcome common challenges related to aging infrastructure - including staff efficiency, security and the adoption of new technology. This will help drive the performance of modern healthcare applications to augment clinical productivity, take the burden off IT teams and improve patient care," said Doug McDonald, Director of Extreme Alliance, Extreme Networks

Key Findings and Trends

  • Organizations feel the impact of staffing and budget shortages: Staffing shortages can lead to declining patient care, disruption in hospital operations and increased churn and burnout for healthcare workers.
    • Clinical staffing shortages are most impactful for organizations between 2,500-14,999 employees, with 84% of respondents citing it as their most important issue.
    • 77% of C-Suite execs cited financial/inflation issues as their biggest challenge.
    • 90% of organizations said they have increased their technology investment since the start of the pandemic, and 45% of respondents stated they have increased their budget significantly.
  • IT staffing shortages significantly impact clinical productivity:
    • 47% of respondents ranked IT staffing shortages in their top three challenges.
    • When it comes to deploying modern healthcare software, 74% of respondents listed IT staffing shortages as a deployment barrier. The lack of qualified staff hinders the adoption of new technology, preventing organizations from utilizing new technologies that can improve patient care.
    • 66% of respondents said routine IT tasks take longer to complete because they don't have enough people.
    • 55% claimed resolution time on errors and issues has increased, negatively impacting staff productivity across the organization.
    • More than 25% of healthcare professionals surveyed said they plan to invest in upgrading and expanding their network infrastructure to address the issues.
  • Cybersecurity, cloud infrastructure and software lead key investments:
    • 59% of respondents ranked cybersecurity challenges in their top three organizational challenges, and 54% ranked cybersecurity as their most important investment over the next 12-18 months.
    • 36% ranked modern healthcare applications as their most important technology investment.
    • 75% of technology decision-makers with buying power said they planned to update cloud infrastructure over the next 12-18 months.
  • Leaning into wireless:
    • 93% of respondents agreed that the network plays a major part in the success of a hospital's operations and patient experience.
      • 96% are leveraging Wi-Fi to enable mobile devices among clinical staff.
      • 84% shared that Wi-Fi is necessary for overall patient experience.
      • 83% lean into Wi-Fi for patient monitoring.
    • 80% of healthcare organizations with more than $5.1B in revenue are more likely to leverage Wi-Fi location-based services, which can be an asset when managing operations.

McDonald added, "A modern healthcare network supports thousands of devices and applications, from patient portals to heart monitors and MRI machines. AIOps can help IT teams identify and troubleshoot issues such as Wi-Fi outages, Wi-Fi performance, network anomalies and adverse traffic patterns before they cause significant outages or downstream effects on clinical staff. Healthcare organizations looking to improve their security posture should also invest in network fabric solutions, which segment network traffic and prevent lateral attacks in the event of a cybersecurity breach."

To download the complete survey, visit
Published Monday, April 17, 2023 8:32 AM by David Marshall
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