In our previous blog, “What Every Healthcare CFO Should Know in 2023”, we spoke directly to those c-suite professionals charged with overseeing budgets. In this blog, we speak directly to those who the budgets impact: CIOs, CSOs, CTOs, and CDOs.

It is these executives who are the driving force behind the adoption of technologies that are poised to transform healthcare. These technologies are significant and will alter the fundamentals of healthcare operations as it relates to security, the patient experience, data, safety, and more. In smaller organizations, CIOs and/or CDOs may have broad responsibilities in digital strategy and virtual care delivery. With many rural hospitals and health systems receiving millions in government grants to support electronic health records (EHRs) improvement, CIOs at those organizations will be focused on planning and implementing technology upgrades in well into 2023.

With such upgrades in mind, it is important to understand how digital records and data are being protected alongside patients and staff within a healthcare setting, and how these physical and digital worlds mesh in terms of security.

Prioritizing a Digital Transformation in 2023

Implementing a digital transformation is no longer nice to have for healthcare CISOs; it is a must have – especially in the year 2023. Omnia Health identified top healthcare trends to watch in 2023 related to technology and the conclusions are eye opening. The expansion of AI, growth of The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), and large-scale availability of useable data are all poised to dominate this year, providing CISOs and similar executives with headaches along with opportunities. When viewing these trends alongside greater workforce trends occurring across all sectors, such as employee burnout, staffing shortages, and growing temporary workforce, the need for digital transformation only grows.

Put simply, a digital transformation equates to automation. It is about using technology and automation to empower healthcare staff but also to help address challenges relating to staffing and security. Manual processes are intrinsically time and labor inefficient, which also means they are cost inefficient. Using scare labor resources to complete tasks related to physical access control, data entry, and compliance checks are not only costly but introduce the opportunity for human error. As the growth of big data stands to increase in healthcare in 2023, does it not make sense that healthcare operations use this data to their advantage?

Why Security Departments Should Be Involved

The 2022 State of Protective Intelligence Report, a study commissioned by the Ontic Center for Protective Intelligence, surveyed 359 chief security officers, chief legal officers, chief compliance officers, general counsels, physical security directors, corporate attorneys, and physical security decision-makers at U.S. companies with over 5,000 employees to examine how they see physical security challenges and opportunities unfolding in 2022. 88% of those surveyed agree, compared to the beginning of 2021, companies are experiencing a dramatic increase in physical threat activity. Similarly, physical security leaders reported their top challenges to be threat data management (41%), physical threats to remote workers (33%), and physical threats to C-suite executives (32%). Though these findings were published in 2022, they speak to a larger area of concern as we enter 2023.

As the lines between physical security and digital security blur year over year, there is an opportunity to improve both at the same time. A healthcare organization’s security team must be a part of the digital transformation as data management and patient and staff safety are becoming the #1 priority for hospitals all over the US. The security department specifically are those who have eyes and ears open to all threats happening in the building and can’t be excluded from the digital transformation planning. This presents an opportunity for CSOs and their teams to join forces with CIOs, IT teams, and OT teams to leverage the existing infrastructure to minimize the investment costs of new technology while better justifying the costs to CFOs.

Implementing a Digital Strategy

Implementing a digital transformation strategy in a healthcare setting is a huge undertaking that involves many different internal departments. To get started, CISOs and their related teams can ask themselves the following questions:

  1. Risk Assessment: How many entry points do we have, how many patients/visitors do we welcome daily, can we automate any of our identification and check-in processes, etc.?
  2. Assess Existing Security Strategies: Should we continue with some, any, all of the policies we introduced during the pandemic – e.g. visiting hours, can we use a software tool that will automatically deny access to those visitors trying to enter specific areas after a certain time instead of using hired staff, etc.?
  3. Internal Collaboration: Can automation help my team as well as other teams within the organization – e.g. operations, finance, occupancy, etc., are other teams running any existing security programs that either are or are not working, etc.?
  4. Gap Analysis: What can we handle with existing resources/technology that we are using today, where do we need extra funding, what is the ROI of a proposed technology, etc.?
  5. C-Suite Buy-In: Can we prove ROI of a proposed technology using available data, what can we do secure a fast-time to value solution, etc.?

Asking yourself/your team these questions are a great place to start, but Vector Flow can help you take your digital transformation one step further. Our software solutions promote automation and are designed to improve efficiencies as it relates to security, compliance, access, visitor management, and more. To learn more about how to get started with your own digital transformation, visit our healthcare solutions page here. And stay tuned for our next blog in our healthcare series: “Reducing Hospital Costs Through Strategic Contractor Management”.