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Health Systems’ Digital Transformations Shift Cloud Focus to Human Resources, Black Book Survey

Black Book Research surveyed 3,200 healthcare industry human resources professionals in order to better understand how organizations are preparing to return their employees to the workplace amidst the continued uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic with the assistance of technology. The findings show that the vast majority of organizations are being more tactical than strategic in their approach due to the slow adoption of analytics and cloud applications.

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In 2020, less than 40% of the 442 healthcare providers Black Book surveyed have at least one key core human resources application in the cloud, but 32% more plan to migrate in 2021.

“From software-as-a-service, robotics and process automation, and predictive HR analytics, the digital transformation of human resources is finally getting actuated, and at a record pace,” said Brian Locastro, Senior Analyst at Black Book.

In 2019, 28% of health organizations reported having at least one focused or minor HR process in the cloud. In Q3 2020 that number has climbed to 56%.

“Prior to advanced cloud-based technology, health systems had to invest deeply in costly infrastructure and hardware to implement an on-premise HR software solution and the best part is that the accountability of maintaining and updating the HR software lies with the service provider.”

For those that still use on-premise software applications hosted within the organization’s four walls for core HR, nearly one-third are actively planning their migration to the cloud over the next 12 months.

Prior to COVID-19, the technology acquisition agenda of Chief Human Resources Officers in hospitals and large physician group practices were low considered as low urgency implementations, according to 81% of health systems CIOs in a Black Book survey.

The deployment of mobile HR capabilities has also intensified with the adoption of HR in the cloud.  In 2019’s HR survey, less than 9% of respondent health systems noted that the HR functions transactions performed in the cloud were also available on mobile devices and phones. In 2020, the number has climbed to 56% accommodating the increase of remote workers and meeting the demands of all employees.

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One of the key implementation challenges according to survey respondents is the lack of internal resources to assist in the training and customization of HR cloud applications, according to 83% of organizations. The cost benefits of migration to the cloud were overhyped according to 88% of CHROs, who confirmed that the resources needed to support the new applications actually saw an increase in FTEs rather than cutting salary costs.

Satisfaction with cloud HR applications in health systems has improved considerably since last year’s poll of system users.

Satisfaction in the Ease of Adoption increased from 37% to 84% in Q3 2020. Issue resolution increased from 41% to 89%, and upgrades and enhancements increased from 43% to 94%

The lowest note in user satisfaction was reported among HR analytics applications where issues with implementations reported were producing low adoption rates in health systems in 2020.

“Supporting an evolving, complex technology stack along with the needs of human resources leaders, employees and job candidates is not easy for healthcare IT vendors amid the pandemic,” said Locastro. “Yet many healthcare software providers have begun to use AI, machine learning, and even Internet of Things (IoT) technology to enhance HR technology solutions.”

Vendors scoring highest in eighteen key performance indicators for healthcare industry enterprise HR software include ADP, Workday, and Paycor.

The top-rated healthcare human resources outsourcing managed services include Accenture HR, ADP, Insperity, and TriNet.

Top recruitment and applicant tracking vendors as rated by clients are Hireology, ICIMS Talent, Acquisition Suite, Bullhorn and Akken Cloud.

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