Key Findings From the Latest Survey Conducted by Protiviti and AHIA on Healthcare Provider Organization Internal Audit Plan Priorities
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. Other challenges these organizations currently face include:
- Intensifying regulatory compliance demands
- Renewed investigations activity by federal, state and accreditation agencies
- Disruptive and costly ransomware attacks
- Constraints of legacy technologies and accelerating adoption of new tools
- Recent changes to value-based arrangements
- Increasing complexity of billing and collection processes
- A reinvigorated opioid crisis
- Increased fraud risk due to changing work and care delivery models
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 From Our Survey
- 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.
Accelerating the Next-Gen Internal Audit Evolution Requires More Resources
Findings for Protiviti’s and AHIA's Healthcare Internal Audit Plan Priorities Survey also suggest that many internal audit functions need to continue to invest in next-generation auditing concepts to continue their next-generation internal audit transformation journey.
However, while many internal audit teams are working to deepen their skills bench, a shortage of talent is hindering their progress. Our research makes clear that internal audit functions need more support so they can modernize their approach and become more agile — and help the healthcare organizations they support to meet an array of complex risks and challenges in a rapidly changing environment.