The future of healthcare needs to involve integrating technology into NHS systems to enable a higher level of information sharing if it is going to focus on improved patient care and cope with the problem of long-term chronic illness.
Recent research conducted by EMC and industry analysts, IDC explores this conundrum in more detail, revealing that healthcare organisations across EMEA must adapt to a new patient-centric approach. The study interviewed hospital IT and non-IT executives as well as a selection of national and regional government executives in charge of eHealth programs. It indicated that on the whole, hospitals will need to look beyond their borders to deliver improved and cost effective patient care.
Although this is a universal challenge, when we look at the results from the survey we can see interesting variations across the UK, France and Germany in organisations’ approach and plans for the future.
When asked what percentage of their IT budget would be allocated to growth in 2014, respondents in Germany said 20 per cent, whereas those in the UK would only allocate 16 per cent. However all three countries would spend over 50 per cent of their budget in 2014 on maintenance and the running of their IT infrastructure with the UK spending slightly more than the other two at 56 per cent. When questioned about who controls their external IT budget, it is split quite equally between the IT department and line of business/administration departments in the UK and Germany. However in France, a large proportion of their budget (64 per cent) is controlled by the IT department.
It’s understandable that companies want to spend more on maintaining their current IT infrastructure but it is important they realise the need to take the leap and embrace a new generation of technology. There will come a time when maintenance will not be enough and more will need to be done to get the healthcare infrastructure into shape.
As part of the research, respondents were asked about their future investment plans. Half of the respondents in Germany said they had business intelligence/analytic solutions in place compared to just 48 per cent of the French and only 20 per cent of those in the UK. However in the UK, 44 per cent of respondents said they were looking to invest in a new solution, whereas only 14 per cent of Germans and 18 per cent of the French agreed.
Evidently progress varies across the regions. Developing the most secure, efficient and flexible IT infrastructure will be the future of health. Having the capabilities to run data analytics either on existing data or in real time, as well as having the most effective storage resources, will make a huge difference in the next couple of years.
Security priorities also differed. 60 per cent of French respondents would invest in identity and access management compared to just 12.5 per cent of the Germans; investing in messaging and endpoint security seemed to be a high priority for those in the UK with 71 per cent agreeing in comparison.
It is clear there are some significant differences between the three different countries, in terms of where they think IT budget should be allocated and what they are planning for in the future. However the end goal should be the same – to enable integrated healthcare and use IT as a key player in this transformation process. There are a number of barriers to overcome and the research highlights some of these. But it is important that companies work with their IT department and providers to help them create the most effective and efficient infrastructure possible to help drive better healthcare across Europe in the future.