Health sector to focus IT spend on collaboration

15 Jan 2007

The health sector will divert more of its IT spending towards collaboration between various stakeholders instead of outlay on improving business processes this year, IDC has forecast.

According to the research firm’s report, Top 10 Predictions for Health Industry in 2007, more money will be spent on technologies that improve information sharing and decision making in the market segments that cover those providing and paying for healthcare, as well as the life science market.

“We see the lines between the life sciences, provider and payer sectors continue to blur as each sector is driven to improve quality and patient safety and reduce healthcare costs,” commented Scott Lundstrom, vice-president of research at IDC’s Health Industry Insights division.

IDC said it expects to see “significant changes” in where healthcare budgets are going, citing areas that support better cross-industry collaboration such as electronic health records, personalised health, pay-for-performance as well as data warehousing and analytics.

This year, half of all new clinical trials are predicted to use electronic data capture to help improve operational effectiveness and, eventually, lead to “dramatic improvements” in the timeliness and accuracy of safety information for new drugs, IDC predicted. It optimistically suggested that paper-based data capture is the exception rather than the norm.

The report also found that the push towards real-time analytics systems is being driven by the need for decision making at the point of care or service.

Security considerations will also be reflected in IT spend. Health Industry Insights expects security investments will focus on protecting health information delivered through web services in 2007. “As the global clinical workforce becomes increasingly mobile, we’re going to see a major focus on the security vulnerabilities in healthcare,” said Lundstrom.

By Gordon Smith