Press release
09 Feb 2024 

EY Health Pulse Survey: Digital Health Solutions Boost Efficiencies and Automation, but ROI has Yet to Come

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  • As COVID-19 hits its four-year anniversary, health care has seen the potential to transform through digital health solutions, including the potential to reduce nursing shortages, expedite patient care, minimize in-person costs and create more productive collaboration with insurance companies.
  • While a majority of executives in the health care sector (71%) say the implementation of new technologies has not decreased overall hospital expenses, nearly all executives within the sector (96%) believe that the initial financial investment of new technology is worth the cost.

Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) announced today the release of its inaugural Health Pulse Survey, which polled over 100 payer and provider health care executives throughout the United States, revealing how health systems have adapted since COVID-19, the strategic investments they have made in digital health and how these investments have impacted their bottom line.

The onset of COVID-19 acted as a catalyst for the health care industry, driving a growing interest in digital health solutions within hospitals and health systems. From tech investments to a newfound focus on generative artificial intelligence (AI), the appetite for digital health solutions has risen, and efficiency has increased. Nine in 10 executives in the health care sector (90%) indicate their department has more time to handle the needs of health care providers after shifting administrative responsibilities to a digital system.

“Health care as we know it is on the precipice of a revolution as more hospitals and health providers adopt digital health systems,” says Dr. Kaushik Bhaumik, EY US Health Technology Leader. “According to the Health Pulse Survey results, health executives have seen firsthand that implementing digital health care systems had a positive effect on operational efficiency, allowing medical professionals to focus on treating patients rather than administrative tasks, alleviating nursing shortage bottlenecks, and in turn, reducing the costs of patient care.”

The EY US survey also found that:

AI is here to stay

More and more hospitals and health systems are integrating AI into processes, with 60% of health care executives actively investing in AI-based applications – and identifying it as a transformative force. A majority – 96% of respondents – witness a substantial reduction in wasted time and financial costs. Furthermore, 93% of health care executives have seen emerging tech as an asset for providers by supporting tech-driven administrative efficiencies, allowing 9 of 10 departments to prioritize provider needs as they shift to operational tech.

Health care executives are integrating digital health but not seeing the ROI

Despite the majority investing in digital health solutions, the industry reward has acted as a paradox. Eighty-six percent of respondents acknowledge the potential cost reduction through digital health solutions; however, 7 in 10 have yet to see any ROI to date. Fifty percent of health care executives believe this constrained ROI is amplified by siloed tracking metrics, making it difficult to successfully monitor tech’s initial cost value to the health care practice.

The spotlight is on talent reskilling

Amid the shift to emerging technology, the demand for tech-savvy professionals in digital health care skyrocketed, with 94% of health care executives agreeing that newer technologies raise health care providers’ credibility. To meet this demand, 90% of health care executives are investing more money in staffing their digital health care tech teams.

The next value wave from digital health technology will require modernization and connectivity to provide healthcare professionals fluid access to claims, masked patient and other data that support AI advances for clinical decision-making and administrative simplification.

“As the digital health landscape continues to evolve, we expect the adoption of digital health solutions to continue to rise. The efficiencies created through automation and AI have had positive impacts on both the provider and patient experiences, and it is only a matter of time until the ROI is realized,” added Mallory Caldwell, EY Americas Health Leader.

Survey methodology

Ernst and Young LLP commissioned Atomik Research to conduct an online survey of 101 administrative executives throughout the United States who work at organizations within the health care sector. The margin of error of the overall sample is +/- 10% with a confidence level of 95%. Fieldwork took place between September 26 and October 6, 2023.

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