Healthcare IT opens billion-dollar opportunities  


Increasing popularity of healthcare technologies and devices has redefined the care sector over the past few years.

Today, with the use of tools ranging from smartphones and tablet computers to remote sensors and monitoring devices to deliver care, information, and support to patients, the  healthcare system has moved to an anytime-accessible model, unlocking the facilities which were inaccessible previously.

This trend is likely to create billion-dollar opportunities for the industry in the coming years.  In its Vision 2025 – Future of Healthcare report, research firm Frost & Sullivan identified 18 technologies that will impact healthcare paradigms by 2025.

Some of them include- wearables, enhanced prosthetics, nanorobotics, electroceuticals, advanced materials, population health analytics, quantum computing, wellness gamification, regenerative medicine, and precision medicine.

The research firm says companies must identify the technologies that will impact their business and invest accordingly.  Artificial intelligence (AI) is an example.

This year, AI received huge popularity and it is likely to continue, because the technology helps to quickly derive insights from large volumes of data. AI’s capability is much faster than that of human beings.

IBM’s Watson Health with its AI is a strong contender in this market. In the recent months, the IT major has announced several steps to expand Watson’s use in the healthcare industry.

Brain-computer Interfaces is another area which companies must look into.  It can connect a “wired” brain directly with an external device for “neural bypass,” which will help paralyzed patients move or blind patients see.

Further, Digital Avatars offer holographic projections of doctors to answer health queries. It is similar to voice assistants like Cortana and Siri.

Medical Tricorders also can open opportunities for the healthcare system with its ability to record health vitals and parameters to diagnose a range of health conditions without a physician. Enterprise IT vendor QualComm is actively into the development of medical tricoders.

Besides, medical laboratory and research company Organovo is offering 3D bioprinting technologies and DeepStream VR is contributing to the healthcare sector with its virtual reality applications.

A chart from Frost & Sullivan shows that healthcare IT revenue will be up at a CAGR of 16.1 percent during 2016-2025, while the estimated overall healthcare industry revenue growth is 5.6 percent. Also, that was the highest growth rate for any division in the overall healthcare industry.

Regionally, healthcare industry revenue from Asia excluding Japan will grow 11.7 percent, Latin America 10.4 percent during 2016-2025. Interestingly, revenue from Europe will grow only1.1 percent and those from North America would up 3.3 percent.

Cyber security in healthcare industry

In an industry in which the personal is paramount, the loss of trust could be catastrophic to its progress and prospects for success.

Intel Security warn in its McAfee Labs Health Warning report that the “business of cybercrime” in the health care sector is growing.

The price per record for stolen patient medical records is time-sensitive. However, the industry speculates that the price per medical record could soon rise, leading to a disaster.

Rise in healthcare IT spending

Despite the concerns, IT spending in the healthcare sector is likely to outpace similar spending in other industries.

A recent Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO study, which polled 190 healthcare industry CIOs,  found that 52 percent were seeing increases in IT budgets in the next 12 months and 35 percent expected unchanged budgets, compared with 45 percent of budgets seeing increases and 33 percent remaining unchanged across all industries.

The study further revealed that cloud computing is gaining interest from healthcare organizations.

According to a Wipro write-up, cost-effective cloud-based solutions are expected to drive increased adoption of hospital management information systems  and electronic medical records.

Arya MM
[email protected]

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