The healthcare industry is expected to grow rapidly in technology spending over the next three years.
In 2008, worldwide healthcare technology spending amounted to USD 88 billion, with a projected compound annual worldwide growth rate from 2007 through 2012 of 5%. Rapid growth in spending in
the industry is long overdue, with only 2% gross revenue spent on technology in the healthcare industry, versus greater than 10% for other industries such as finance.
Recent advances in medical research have yielded a surplus of information for medical professionals to consume. The challenge faced by all medical facilities today is no longer a lack of information, but the complexity of the information gathered, and ensuring that the right information is available at the right time.
One of the major challenges faced by the Healthcare system worldwide is fraud. In 2003 the National Healthcare Anti-Fraud Association estimated that, in the Unites States alone, at least USD 51 billion was lost to fraud. Technological innovations in the field of biometrics now allow medical facilities to capture and store users' biometric information. This information, coupled with EMR data provides a powerful and accurate method of tracking a users medical history.
Fraud is not limited to healthcare users; providers of healthcare services account for a significant portion of the calculated losses. Audit data that is stamped with a biometric approval makes the process of billing and insurance claims more secure by linking the different parties involved in the submission.
Implementations of biometric identification systems in the healthcare environment are widespread, and gaining traction. However, the lack of government mandate in many countries will likely slow the processes of adoption, as data capture and storage standards vary from provider to provider.
Cost reduction is another substantial challenge for the Healthcare sector. With recent global recession and the increasing spending on technology, the healthcare industry will also look to implement systems and processes that allow them to maximize their existing spend by eliminating waste. Spend analysis, workforce management, and revenue cycle management technologies will all be instrumental in helping hospitals cut costs, maximize human resources, reduce overtime, and expedite claims resolution and payment.
The use of wireless technologies in the healthcare industry is gaining traction worldwide. The technology is used to prevent errors, reduce costs, increase security, and optimize tedious processes and procedures.
Error prevention solutions are one of the biggest uses of radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies in health care. Information availability is not strongly correlated with the accurate usage of that information. For example, for every five doses of medication administered in hospitals, one dose is administered incorrectly, with 54%-61% of these errors occurring in IV medication administration. The result is an estimated 98,000 deaths annually in the United States alone.
RFID and related technologies provide a framework for healthcare facilities to notify healthcare professionals of errors and process exceptions based on physical events, or to avoid them completely.
When coupled with error prevention systems, cost reduction services can have a massive impact on
the calculated ROI of the RFID deployment. In healthcare facilities, a primary candidate for cost reduction is accurate management of inventories and asset utilization. Applications for RFID
solutions in healthcare facilities enabling cost reduction include: Providing accurate inventory tracking; this in turn reduces costs through and overall reduction in inventory levels, the ability to bulk purchase inventory, and a reduction in lost inventory, reducing pharmaceutical and food spoilage by wirelessly monitoring the temperature of refrigerators and freezers, reducing unnecessary purchase of assets through improved utilization of existing equipment and expansion of services with no staff expansion through increased asset usage efficiency.
A major problem faced by health care providers globally is the reliability with which they can identify a patient and correlate that patient with existing records at the facility. Patients intentionally identifying themselves as different individuals to obtain healthcare benefits further exasperate this issue.
The increasing complexity of healthcare procedures is rapidly approaching the limits of conventional process management. Hospital management today requires the ability to visualize, monitor, and optimize procedures related to patient care and resource allocation.