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  • 14 April 2010 11:26

IDC: Integrated ehealth Faces Both Possibilities and Challenges in Australia's National Healthcare Reform

Sydney, Australia, 14 April 2010. A new report from International Data Corporation (IDC) shows that if there is one area where the benefits of ICT can assist citizens to reach maximum potential, it would certainly be ehealth, an area of exciting innovation and promise.

IDC's report titled Business Strategy: Health Insights Country Report for Australia, shows with the healthcare reform (and NBN) at the forefront of the national agenda, the possibilities for an integrated approach to ehealth makes the area rife with both challenges and opportunities for vendors in 2010.

Triggered by rising population numbers, ageing population, and the awareness on the need to create a continuum of care amongst the health community, both the industry and government are fully aware of the critical role that ehealth plays. However, to date, it has also been persistently underfunded.

Top investment priorities in 2010 will be: • Electronic Health Records (with appropriate standards and privacy), • Interoperability and security (integration and compliance with standards); • Business intelligence for next-generation hospital operations; and • Collaboration tools for improved communications across service providers.

"The national push by the Rudd government for a comprehensive health reform for the next five years will significantly increase investments in the industry and these will be aligned with continuous service improvement and patient customer attraction," said Melissa Martin, Senior Market Analyst, Verticals at IDC Australia.

"The next-generation broadband simultaneously will play a key role in delivering ehealth services right to the doorstep of patients' homes, and increasing the capacity of SPs to digitise their clinical operations and workflow, transfer and share patient information and high-resolution medical images. Reaching out to people in the rural area through telemedicine, improving communications amongst hospitals, GPs and community, SPs will drive the adoption of health technologies," added Martin.

IDC estimates: • ICT spending in the healthcare industry in 2010 will be A$2.26 billion, a slight growth of the 2009 figure of A$2.20 billion. Of the four sub-segments (hardware, services, software, and telecommunications), hardware spending was the highest at 41.3% (A$937 million), along with upgrades of infrastructure, and further investments into personal computing equipment, including laptops and mobile tablet PCs.

• A$721 million (31.8%) will be spent on telecommunications, A$509 million (22.4%) on services, and a further A$102 million (4.5%) spent on software. Vendors benefited from the various state and hospital initiatives for deployment of clinical information systems and pilots of electronic health records (EHRs), driving demand for application development and integration services.

"The Australia ehealth industry has moved on from the experimental and piloting stage. We foresee a clearer picture on the commercial model of a national ehealth infrastructure to emerge over the next two years, as new entrants to the ehealth industry - cloud computing platforms and service providers - trigger a deeper assessment of operational models of large-scale deployments via multiple service providers," added Janet Chiew, report co-author and research manager, IDC Health Insights, Asia/Pacific.

Ends

For further information or to request an analyst briefing on this topic, please contact Sally Taylor-Phillips, Marketing Communications Manager at IDC on +61 2 9925 2234 or e-mail staylorphillips@idc.com.

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