As more organizations accelerate their digital strategies, cybersecurity threats are increasing. In fact, surveyed CFOs of both health systems (35%) and health plans (53%) rated cybersecurity and privacy as their top concerns. Cybersecurity threats have always loomed for health care organizations owing to the huge amount of patient data they collect. As the use of virtual health solutions and remote health care workforce models both increase, so has the need to enhance cybersecurity efforts. With these shifts, more staff members than ever have remote access to patient and other secure data. In fact, a 2021 study showed a 117% increase in security alerts, and a 42% increase in file transfer protocol vulnerabilities due to increased remote work for health care organizations.4 Many interviewed CFOs pointed to increased cybersecurity incidents leading to personal identifiable information and personal health information data compromises, and at times, a loss of reputation for the involved organization. In response, finance leaders are planning to substantially increase their organizations’ cybersecurity investments this year and in the coming year.
Finding ways to sustain the business model changes made during the pandemic was another top-of-mind concern for the surveyed CFOs. While some of the business model changes, such as increased use of virtual health tools, were out of necessity, finding a balance among the sweeping changes made during the last two years was identified as the biggest priority by the CFOs we interviewed. According to our research, CFOs are focused on:
Adopting a hybrid workforce and workplace model: In the last two years, many health care organizations paused their plans for facility expansions or ended their leases. However, as facilities reopen, many interviewed CFOs are budgeting for the right workplace size and structure that balances organizational work priorities and allows workforce flexibility and well-being.
Expanding digital care delivery: Many interviewed CFOs are witnessing a gradual decline in the use of virtual health in the services mix. However, some mentioned that the revenue mix is shifting toward other digital health services such as hospital-at-home and chronic condition management.
Investing in automation and efficiency tools: There was a consensus among interviewed CFOs on investing in digital capabilities to help reduce costs and increase efficiencies. In their own finance departments, they discussed automating several processes (e.g., reporting and repetitive tasks), which with the appropriate upskilling, would allow their finance workforces to focus on high-value activities. In addition, many discussed digitizing parts of the supply chain to help with procurement efficiencies.