Healthcare IT spending in North America to keep rising, study finds


According to a study recently disseminated by MarketsandMarkets, overall healthcare IT spending in the North American market is set to grow over the next few years.


By 2017, healthcare IT spending will reach $31.3 billion in North America, according to the research. A core reason why this trend is occurring is due to the rising need for new solutions in the industry. As the number and persistence of health issues increases, so too does the need for systems equipped to handle the extra workload. For example, the report noted that chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer are becoming more common in Canada, and healthcare providers are investing more heavily in IT to account for this rise.


“High costs, disorganized and inefficient delivery systems, high medical and medication error rates, poor communication and care coordination, lack of information support for effective decision-making, and counterproductive payment incentives characterize the present state of healthcare systems,” the MarketsandMarkets report stated. “Hence, the need for IT has evolved, as it has the potential to improve workflow, safety, and efficiency within healthcare organizations. The ability to capture, store, exchange, and analyze medical information in electronic form will improve healthcare in many ways.”


Within North America, the United States will spend more than any other country on healthcare IT between now and 2017. However, the research noted that Canada will have a higher compound annual growth rate as more organizations place greater focus on patient safety and ways in which healthcare IT can facilitate those efforts.


EHRs help lead to healthcare IT spending rise
One of the main reasons why healthcare providers are allocating more money toward IT initiatives is to reap the benefits that can be obtained from electronic health record systems and other new tools now available. For instance, a report released earlier this year from the Health Council of Canada found that the number of physicians in the country using EHRs has gone up, from 26 percent in 2006 to 57 percent last year.


“The use of information technology facilitates better communication with patients, improve safety and quality, and better coordinate care,” said John G. Abbott, CEO of the Health Council of Canada.


Despite the advances in healthcare over the past decade, problems still persist. For example, the Health Council reported that 38 percent of physicians said their patients had a hard time receiving specialized medical tests. In addition, less than half were able to provide same-day appointments and only 30 percent said they always knew when their patients went to the emergency room. To eliminate these persistent medical care obstacles, organizations are increasingly adopting EHRs and other IT solutions.


These technology solutions offer innumerable benefits to healthcare providers, but IT systems can work well only if they are installed with the organization’s unique interests in mind. As one of Canada’s largest managed IT services firms, FlexITy can help any healthcare organization succeed with its technology initiatives. By first taking a comprehensive view of the provider and its specialized needs, FlexITy ensures that the technology installed solves key problems today and years from now. In addition, because FlexITy only partners with some of today’s top technology companies – firms like Cisco, EMC, HDS and NetApp – healthcare organizations that turn to their IT consulting services can know that the hardware and software put into place will improve patient outcomes and the quality of care provided.