Healthcare providers are increasingly focusing on smarter ways to provide advanced healthcare while remaining cost efficient. With healthcare budgets highly scrutinized amidst the repercussions of the global economic recession, resources for new product acquisitions are limited, and products today need to show they provide both clinical and cost benefits to purchase. For their part, purchasers are seeking products that enable them to not only remain profitable, but also to make significant cost savings further down the line. As a consequence, there is increasing interest to implement IT software that will streamline the patient pathway and improve financial outcomes.
Healthcare IT (HCIT) has become a high priority in high-acuity care (HAC), with healthcare institutions intensifying demand for IT systems that enable the caregiver to make more considered clinical diagnoses. Because of this, IT systems are now being utilized across the hospital, right from the point of entry in the emergency department through to the intensive care and perioperative care units. And as a patient moves through the patient pathway, data collection and analysis enables the clinician to make the best diagnosis, reducing the length of stay and risk of mortality. The HAC HCIT systems also enable advanced data analysis, early warning, benchmarking and predictive modeling, ultimately increasing the quality of care and improving outcomes.
Overall, new HCIT initiatives are rapidly being established globally, with governments focusing significant financial investment to improve IT resources. Many of the initiatives have deadlines that impose heavy penalties to providers failing to implement the required IT system standards—measures aimed at digitizing patient data to ensure that important information is accessible throughout a patient’s treatment. In the process, focus has deepened to improve data collection within high-acuity care wards, thus boosting demand for HCIT systems. Yet progress to date remains slow, with many planned installations held back due to a lack of infrastructure and the complexity of systems, further delaying the digitization of HAC wards.
Global adoption of HAC systems also varies between emerging and mature countries. In emerging countries, most hospitals focus on providing a high level of high-acuity care, and growth in demand is expected for information systems as standards of care improve. Meanwhile, mature markets are seeking more advanced solutions to replace existing legacy installations.
IHS predicts that global revenue for HAC HCIT markets will grow between 8 percent and 10 percent from 2013 to 2019. Similar good growth is projected in all segments of high-acuity care HCIT, with intensive care information systems (ICUIS) and anesthesia information systems (AIMS) the fastest growing.
Regardless of the care setting, continuity of care remains a primary focus for many providers seeking to ensure that integrated care is offered and that patient data is transferred with the patient. Healthcare providers are now calling for complete IT coverage throughout the hospital, highlighting the increased demand for enterprise solutions that enable a smooth transition of data sharing across all departments.
Still, the healthcare IT market is heavily dependent on a continued influx of financial support and resources as healthcare providers strive to provide integrated care. To this end, growth will be maintained by increased legislation driving demand of supporting IT systems. A limiting factor, however, will be the lack of education among healthcare providers on the use of software tools, in addition to the very complexity of healthcare IT networks.