Health IT First Movers May Enjoy Competitive Edge, Faster Growth

Technology in the handsMost healthcare organizations are conservative when it comes to investing in new technologies, but a new report suggests early adoption of social, mobile, analytic, cloud and machine-to-machine technologies are hallmarks of higher growth rates and market leadership.

The findings come from a new study, The Digital Dividend: First Mover Advantage, conducted for Verizon by the Harvard Business Review Analysis Service.

In the report, business leaders self-identified as one of three types of IT organizations:   Pioneers are most open to change and investment in new technologies. Followers only invest once others have proven the benefit of a new technology, while Cautious organizations only invest when a technology is firmly established, if at all.

Of responding organizations in all industries, Pioneers had the highest growth rates, while Cautious firms were most likely to report low or no growth. Among participating healthcare organizations, 27% self-identified as Pioneers, 36% as Followers and 35% as Cautious.

"Healthcare organizations have very mission-critical activities, so it's very understandable they do not move quickly to reap the benefits of technology," said Chris Davis, senior solutions architect at Verizon Enterprise Solutions, in an interview with Information Week.

"We found... organizations that adopt technologies earlier have significantly larger growth rates, year over year, than followers or cautious organizations in all industries, and the same things applied to healthcare,” said Davis.

The report says consumer adoption of technologies like mobile and social is a catalyst for early-adopting IT organizations. For hospitals, health IT and health plans that translates to patients who expect higher service levels and greater engagement with providers.

"These various technologies are coming together to create tremendous value that hasn't been seen before," said Davis. "We're at that tipping point where healthcare providers can drastically change the way they conduct their business."

Of the technologies covered in the report, mobility and analytics had the highest penetration in healthcare organizations, while social media, cloud, and M2M were lowest on the adoption list.