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Analysis

Nearly 4 in 5 CFOs Plan to Invest More in Digital Transformation

By Jack O'Brien  
   June 10, 2019

Almost 70% of CFOs expect to increase investments in digital transformation by more than 20% at the end of Q1 2020, according to a recent Black Book survey.

Seventy-nine percent of health system CFOs and 89% of senior finance officers will increase investments in digital transformation by the end of next year, according to a Black Book survey released Friday.

Of health systems with over 150 beds, 28% report that they are behind other provider organizations in their market regarding digital transformation offerings, with 19% indicating that they are equal to the competition.

The primary drivers for financial digital transformation in health systems are reducing the cost of care, improving care coordination, and preparing value-based care payments, according to Black Book. 

The survey is the latest evidence that hospital finance executives anticipate widespread changes in information technology (IT) spending going forward and remain increasingly focused on maintaining digital transformation that benefits the organization's bottom line and boosts clinical care quality. 

Related: How RWJBarnabas Health is Using Innovation to Transform to a Value-Based World

CFOs reported that the top three IT challenges facing their respective hospitals and health systems are system integration, 92%, upkeep of financial legacy system, 84%, and lack of financial IT talent, 81%.

Notably, 85% of senior finance leaders admitted they did not have "suitable financial metrics for IT ROI," nearly 50% higher than CFOs in other industries. Despite efforts by the majority of hospitals to automate financial transactions in recent years, Black Book found that 70% of CFOs consider those solutions outdated.

Still, the survey's findings indicate that improved digital financial services and adoption of new technologies improve data quality, optimize financial processes that reduce operational costs, and minimize billing errors. 

Related: Minnesota BCBS CEO Talks Transformation, Entering Care Delivery at WHCC 2019

In Q2 2019, CFOs expect accounts payable and accounts receivable to lead the way as the most automated financial process, followed closely by financial reporting and working capital management.

The survey is the latest evidence that hospital finance executives are increasingly focused on maintaining digital transformation that benefits the organization's bottom line and boosts clinical care quality. 

While just over half of the surveyed CFOs report that they have let CIOs handle investments in digital transformation, 94% expect to directly address digital technology applications as they relate to finance tasks in the next five years, albeit without CIO input.

This will include a focus on financial planning, advanced financial analytics, budgeting and cost accounting, and forecasting, among other topics.

Related: 5 Tech Tools That Could Change the Way Your Hospital Delivers Care

Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


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