Healthcare Internal Auditors Prioritize Cybersecurity, Business Performance and Technology Modernization
On the heels of the lengthy and exhausting public health emergency (PHE), the healthcare industry has been facing the challenges of the financial downturn and ongoing struggle to return to business as usual. Healthcare providers and payers are working to address a number of unique issues, including some that existed pre-pandemic, while facing the reality of the current landscape. According to the latest Healthcare Internal Audit Plan Priorities Survey conducted by Protiviti and the Association of Healthcare Internal Auditors (AHIA), the top audit priorities for healthcare organizations in 2023 are encompassed in seven themes.
Key findings include:
Cybersecurity practices and posture tops the list of internal audit (IA) priorities in the 2023 survey. Healthcare organizations continue to be prime targets for cyber and ransomware attacks, with severe consequences, including the disruption of essential systems, revenue loss and compromised patient care.
Human resources, benefits and workforce challenges rank as the second highest priority in 2023. Employee time/expense reporting and payroll are critical personnel operations for healthcare organizations as they face rising cost pressures in the post-pandemic environment. Many healthcare organizations have chosen to reduce staff to maintain healthy margins, even as they grapple with meeting and maintaining adequate clinical staffing levels.
Issues around financial integrity rank high in the list of priorities for internal auditors, with accounts payable (AP) coming in as the fifth highest priority in 2023. Changes to the ecosystem due to emerging technologies, and fragmentation of people and processes due to trends in outsourcing to external parties, add to risks that must be reviewed by IA when auditing AP.