The investment in information and mobile technologies have revolutionised the healthcare industry in a big way.
In its latest global healthcare outlook, Deloitte said the demand for value and an increasingly competitive environment are prompting health care organizations to find new and more effective ways to improve care delivery.
Research and Markets forecasts the global healthcare IT market would grow at a CAGR of 13.4 percent to $228.79 billion by 2020.
The research firm cites demand for information technology solutions from healthcare providers and growing need of healthcare insurance providers to manage record of claims and reimbursements as some of the growth drivers.
The healthcare IT market is segmented into healthcare provider solutions, healthcare payer solutions and HCIT outsourcing services.
The healthcare provider solutions segment, which includes clinical solutions and non-clinical solution, is expected to grow at the highest CAGR of 16.4 percent. The increasing demand for improved patient safety and patient care is boosting growth.
Investment in IT
Recent studies have found that increasing healthcare expenditure, use of data-driven technologies, various healthcare reforms and changing regulations are paving the way for investments and innovations in the healthcare IT sector.
UK’s Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust is working with IBM to create the country’s first ‘cognitive’ hospital using big data IBM Watson technology platform.
This multi-year collaborative program, which also participates the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Hartree Centre, is backed by a £115.5 million commitment from Government announced in 2015.
This initiative is expected to enhance patient care and generate savings for both the hospital and the National Health Service.
IT vendor Elekta recently received EUR 10 million investments from Turkey’s Medicana Health Group to purchase equipment and software to treat cancer.
The deal includes Elekta’s Versa HD and Synergy Platform linear accelerators as well as MOSAIQ oncology information systems and Monaco treatment planning systems.
IT deals in healthcare
Healthcare institutions now admit that patients and the society as a whole are now more informed than ever before and they demand value added services.
Despite operational challenges, these institutions are investing in innovative technologies to remain competitive in the business landscape.
Heritage Valley Health System announced a deal with GE Healthcare for sustained access to new technologies over the next 14 years.
According to a press statement, the agreement includes MRI and CT scanners, new ultrasound equipment, upgrades to an existing GE CT scanner and the addition of nuclear imaging cameras.
Citing Mercom Capital Group, Economic Times reports that Venture capital firms have invested $1.4 billion through 146 deals in healthcare IT companies globally in the first quarter of 2016.
The daily says this figure is 27 percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2015 and 74 percent compared to the same period a year ago. The figures point out surging demand for healthcare IT and good time for IT vendors.
“The Health IT sector is off to an impressive start this year with significant funding activity in the first quarter led by wearables, data analytics and telemedicine,” ET quoted Mercom Capital Group CEO and co-founder Raj Prabhu.
Healthcare technology innovation
As the world goes connected, the concept of connected health is also spreading its wings. Health care organizations are exploring ways to facilitate communication between providers and consumers.
Though the concept is in the growing stage, it has immense potential to become a necessity in the future smart life. Connected healthcare system gives a user access to remote communication, diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring.
Current healthcare sensations are wearables/sensors, data analytics, telemedicine and mHealth apps.
Internet giant Google has invented a smart lens that could be injected into one’s eyes in a liquid form that then solidifies to correct vision. Google has applied for a patent for this electronic eye, which could revolutionize the ophthalmic industry.
Oracle recently said increasing number of hospitals and healthcare systems worldwide are choosing Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Cloud. Adventist Health, Family Health, Presbyterian Medical Services, and Southern New Hampshire Health are just a few of them.
Oracle ERP Cloud delivers ERP capabilities across financials, procurement and project portfolio management.
In addition, it helps in enterprise performance management, governance risk and compliance and supply chain management.
Another technology that excites the healthcare sector is virtual reality, which helps to recreate sensory experiences. The applications of virtual reality technology extend to psychiatric, training, medical practice, and among other branches of medicine as a part of alternate therapies.
Depression and posttraumatic stress disorder, surgery simulation, phobia treatment, robotic surgery and skills training are the most common situations where the use of virtual reality technology has proven successful.
Low adoption rate
Though there are clear signs of an upshot in this particular industry, the adoption rate of healthcare information technology is relatively low.
According to Research and Markets, high costs incurred for implementation, maintenance, and upgrading services, lack of in-house IT skilled resources and inadequate IT infrastructure are general factors for this trend.
At the same time, emerging markets face the risk of data breaches, high costs incurred on training staff, technical difficulties in integrating healthcare IT solutions, and interoperability issues.