Healthcare Information Technology (IT) includes various technologies that are used to design, develop and maintain information systems pertaining to the healthcare industry. It involves the electronic storage, sharing and analysis of healthcare data and records. Healthcare IT encompasses areas like coding and billing, medical record keeping, digital imaging networks, etc. Key advantages of healthcare IT include better efficiency by reduced paperwork, higher accuracy as compared to manual maintenance of records, real-time access to patient information and overall cost reduction.
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Aging populace leading to rise in healthcare needs, technological advancements, government efforts to ensure affordable healthcare to all and a rising need for integrated healthcare systems are fueling global demand for healthcare IT products. The US government, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), provides financial incentives to healthcare providers and hospitals for meaningful implementation of healthcare IT products. This has led to increase in healthcare IT spending. The preference of CPOE – computerized physician order entry, over handwritten or transcribed medical orders owing to higher accuracy will also boost demand. Furthermore, the numerous advantages of interoperability are bound to attract government attention and support which will in turn generate demand for healthcare IT.
Key global healthcare IT applications include clinical information systems, laboratory information systems, electronic prescriptions, picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), electronic health records, computerized provider order entry systems, etc. Telehealth and telemedicine dominated the applications with their market accounting for revenues worth about $10billion in 2012. The rising prevalence of chronic ailments, growing preference for home healthcare, technological advancements in the area of telecommunications like SIP – session initiation protocol and TEEVE – Tele-immersive environment for everybody, and increasing usage of internet, particularly in developing regions like China, India and Brazil, will be the main factors contributing to the growing market for telehealth and telemedicine in future.
The second most-demanded application in 2012 was electronics health records. Electronic health records facilitate a seamless flow of information and make information available whenever and wherever needed. The market for electronic prescribing systems is expected to grow exponentially by 2020 due to advantages like inter-operability and user-friendly operation. Sophisticated e-prescribing systems can act as stand-alone prescription writers by performing functions like creating and refilling patient prescriptions, managing medications, connecting to pharmacies and integrating with electronic medical record (EMR) systems.
Geographically, the healthcare IT market can be split into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and ROW. A well-developed healthcare infrastructure system, substantial healthcare spending, high patient awareness and government incentives to implement IT in healthcare have proven beneficial to North America which bagged a share of more than half of the total healthcare IT market in 2012. Europe’s market share in 2012 was worth more than $10billion. Untapped markets in regions like Poland and Russia and rising number of private healthcare providers are expected to augment demand for healthcare IT in Europe.
The fastest growth in healthcare IT in the coming years is anticipated to originate from the Asia Pacific region. This can be attributed to the booming markets of China and India and the improving healthcare and telecommunications infrastructure in these countries. Moreover, healthcare reforms in China in April 2009 have opened up foreign investment opportunities, leading to greater demand for healthcare IT products.
Key healthcare IT competitors are Mckesson Corporation, Athenahealth Inc., eClinicalworks, GE Healthcare, Agfa Healthcare, Philips Healthcare and E-MDS Inc., among others. The industry is characterized by consolidation. Mergers, acquisitions and alliances enable operators to expand geographical reach and increase product range.
Information Source: Grand View Research