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10 emerging trends in health IT for 2021

Becker's Hospital Review

Jackie Drees and Laura Dyrda

Health IT adoption skyrocketed in 2020 as hospitals, health systems and patients increasingly relied on digital health technologies for care delivery during the pandemic, setting the stage for continued growth and innovation in 2021.

Becker's health IT team has compiled 10 of the top health IT trends on CIOs' radars for next year, from telehealth to cybersecurity and big data.

1. The CIO and IT teams evolution. Health systems relied on technology to swiftly move to virtual care, remote work and more coordinated communication and data management during the pandemic. Cybersecurity was also a new priority as ransomware attackers hit hospitals and health systems. As a result, the CIO's expertise was in high demand in 2020, and that will likely continue in the new year.

"At Providence we are seeing firsthand the expansion of the CIO role and its elevated value in the health system," said B.J. Moore, executive vice president and CIO of Renton, Wash.-based Providence. "I now report to our CEO, Rod Hochman, MD, and my role has expanded to include our real estate and operations function. This is in recognition of the future of a modern digital workforce and the evolution of our facilities in the future of modern digitally enabled care delivery."

Organizations will continue accelerated digital transformation next year, and the CIO's role will evolve to look more like that of a COO's, overseeing the organization's strategy and risk management. IT teams also are evolving to include more people with clinical backgrounds, data scientists and senior security professionals.

2. A new age of cybersecurity. Hackers stepped up their efforts to attack healthcare providers in 2020 to go beyond phishing attacks and stealing information to sell on the dark web. Ransomware attacks, especially during the second half of the year...

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