Data security, infrastructure upgrades among top CIO priorities for 2013

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Top priorities for healthcare CIOs this year include network security and infrastructure upgrades, according to an independent research study published this week by Level 3 Communications.

One hundred CIOs and senior IT executives responded to a survey, distributed by the Broomfield, Colo. communications company, in November 2012. Their top three challenges for this year included implementation of electronic health records (26 percent); achieving Meaningful Use requirements (21 percent); and 3) upgrading IT infrastructure (14 percent).

Twenty percent of those surveyed said they experienced a security breach in the past year, and more than 56 percent said they were "somewhat confident" in their organization's ability to prevent such a breach. Seventy-six percent of those surveyed said they plan to upgrade their network infrastructure within the next two years.

Additionally, close to 80 percent of respondents said they plan to increase IT spending in 2013. Most respondents (66 percent) said they already have telehealth capabilities.

"Patient privacy and the security of health records are weighing on the minds of healthcare CIOs," Karl Strohmeyer, Level 3 group vice president, said, according to an announcement. "As more and more healthcare-related information is digitized and shared remotely, the need for secure networks and services to protect this data will continue to grow."

Last fall, FierceHealthIT talked to hospital CIOs about their biggest anticipated challenges for 2013. Meaningful Use and ICD-10 remained in the forefront for some professionals, such as Stephen Stewart, CIO at Henry County Health Center in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, who said the combination of both initiatives will be his most pressing challenge in 2013.

As 2012 drew to a close, healthcare CIOs also pointed to mobile healthcare and IT security as major challenges for 2013. Theresa Meadows, CIO at Cook Children's Health Care System in Fort Worth, Texas, told FierceHealthIT that provider organizations will continue to incorporate mobile devices, but said that ensuring their security will be a top concern.

To learn more:
- here are the study results
- read the announcement
- check out the infographic accompanying the study

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