2021 Healthcare Internal Audit Plan Priorities Survey Report

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Funding, Privacy, Security and IT System Changes Dominate Priorities for Healthcare Internal Auditors

Even before the COVID-19 public health emergency, healthcare organizations were challenged in their mission to deliver high-quality patient care due to provider and staff shortages. Many healthcare organizations have been forced to make severe and often morale-bruising cost reductions while dealing with additional staffing issues and supply constraints. And now, as they work through the pandemic-induced backlog of elective procedures and deferred care for their patients, they’re facing the ebbs and flows of different COVID variants. It is against this backdrop that the latest Healthcare Internal Audit Plan Priorities Survey conducted by Protiviti and the Association of Healthcare Internal Auditors (AHIA) finds internal audit provider functions under intense pressure to audit new and unfamiliar areas and help their organizations contend with an array of critical risks.

Key findings include:

  • Current top priorities for internal audit functions supporting healthcare providers include audits focused on government funding programs and preservation, such as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act.
  • The rapid expansion of remote work during the pandemic has complicated the healthcare industry’s ongoing struggle to hire and retain talent. However, organizations also see the advantages of using remote capabilities to keep vital departments connected and running optimally.
  • Leading organizations in the healthcare industry are taking a harder look at the value of co-sourcing for critical functions like internal audit. Co-sourcing also provides a way to access hard-to-find skill sets, such as analytics, hospital and clinical coding, and other emerging technologies expertise.

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