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MIT Survey: Pandemic Shift to Remote Work Leads IT transformation

Analysis  |  By Scott Mace  
   December 31, 2020

At Mayo Clinic, 10-year engineering plan gets compressed into two years.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed and accelerated the IT plans of more organizations, according to a survey by MIT Technology Review Insights in association with VMware.

The companies best positioned for success have modernized their organizational processes and business strategies, according to the survey report, MIT Executive Study Uncovers Top Healthcare Trends Shaping IT Resilience.

Remote work leads the list of dramatic changes resulting from the pandemic. The survey of 600 C-level executives finds that before the pandemic, an average of only 8% of workforces worked remotely on a regular basis. After the pandemic began, the percentage rose to 27%.

Executives participating in the survey span six global industries—financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, government, and telecommunications.

Three-quarters of those surveyed believe COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation in their companies. One third anticipate budget increases, but healthcare, government, and communications are most likely to sustain or expand their digital investments, the survey found.

"We thought we were being pretty bold with our 10-year plan, and what we've realized is we probably weren't bold enough—that we actually do need to accelerate this even more," said Mark Wehde, chair of engineering at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "Our 10-year plan was now a two-year plan."

As sick patients present in pop-up and overflowing hospitals, healthcare IT orgs are transitioning to digital technologies quickly, while keeping healthy patients safe.

More than half of healthcare organizations surveyed have boosted their technology investments in patient experience, particularly telehealth services. Despite this, most essential healthcare providers continue to work in physical locations, the report says.

Other key findings include:

  • Public cloud workloads in healthcare are increasing, the report says. Prior to COVID-19, 13% of healthcare applications were cloud-hosted. In the next 18 months, healthcare survey respondents expect that number to jump to 21%.
  • Of those surveyed, 46% are allocating a significant share (defined as more than 25%) of their IT budgets to security and threat management.
  • Business-continuity plans were already a priority for survey respondents, with 63% of them already having had such plans in place before the pandemic.

Scott Mace is a contributing writer for HealthLeaders.

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