A European perspective on investing in healthcare

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.EMC_Infographic_FINAL - small

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.

How big data is the big opportunity for businesses

This week EMC launched the results of the global survey on the Digital Universe. Simon Walsh, our EMEA COO talks with CNBC and explains how there will be a ten-fold increase in data over the next six years, representing a significant opportunity for businesses.

Reinventing Government: Preparing a 2015 Technology Manifesto on Storify

EMC is supporting leading think tank Policy Exchange in writing a Technology Manifesto to advise and challenge the next government. On Friday 4th April, EMC brought together senior technology and policy leaders from within government and beyond to discuss priorities and contribute to the report. Below you can see how the conversation developed. 

UPDATE: Here is the latest from Eddie Copeland, head of technology policy at Policy Exchange. The ‘A Portrait of Modern Britain’ report takes a look at how the UK’s population will change by 2050.

Britain’s Banks to Overhaul IT?

bankingSaid Tabet on the need for Britain’s banks to overhaul IT, in response to the Prudential Regulation Authority findings:

I was interested, yet not surprised, to read over the weekend that Britain’s banks were told by the Prudential Regulation Authority that they needed to spend billions overhauling IT systems over the next few years.

The news won’t be a surprise to our banking institutions, as financial services IT systems were not designed to face today’s challenges, risks, and the need for agile, customer-oriented systems. Many of these systems were built for the first ‘mainframe’ platform of computing, or the client-server “second platform” of computing. The new ‘third platform’ of computing calls for far greater agility; responding to staff and consumer demands for anywhere access to data and services on the move, to call on data repositories to translate information into insight, to react in near-real-time to customer expectations as expressed on social media.

In order to meet new demands, some might suggest that we should consider rebuilding our systems from scratch with these requirements in mind. But will that solve the problem?  Perhaps for the short term, but definitely not when you take a longer term view. Replacing one monolithic framework with another is not the answer. We need an information infrastructure that can cope with change.

After all, the world we live in is changing rapidly and information technology needs to be adaptive, agile, and ready to face up to the most complex situations. Cyber security risks are just one of those. Internal controls, governance, enterprise risk management, alignment of business goals and objectives to operations and IT…these all require serious attention. It’s also become clear that if you don’t adapt and update your IT infrastructure to meet with the increasing demands being placed on it by employees and customers, then in the long term you won’t be able to compete in your industry. Our financial institutions should also consider how modern, agile IT can also drive new business opportunities, customer insights and revenue opportunities.

I would recommend that business leaders at our financial institutions make IT an urgent priority for this year to ensure they meet both customer and market demands, and are ready to support the mobile, social, cloud-centric ‘big data’ rich ‘third platform’ of computing. Technology is shaping our advances now more than ever, and it is time to invest in systems which will underpin your business as a whole for the future. Avoiding short term CapEx in the interest of cost savings could well result in long term losses and the eventual decline of any business.  Regulators and national supervisors also need to take responsibility in developing adequate, standards-based frameworks in order for them to help stabilise the financial system of the next 20 to 50 years, and perhaps have the luxury then to mitigate in the new systemic risk scenarios that we will face in a timely fashion.

Comments on the £10-a-month NHS fee

Stuart Nyemecz, EMC

Stuart Nyemecz, district manager, regional public sector at EMC comments on the proposed NHS  ‘membership charge’

The news of the £10-a-month NHS “membership charge” that Lord Warner has proposed is misplacing the emphasis on required changes within the NHS. Pumping more money into the system without making fundamental efficiency changes and developing a plan to spend it wisely, could lead to further wastage of critical funds.

Dramatic action is certainly needed to help reduce the £30bn-a-year gap by 2020, however there are other, more effective ways of dealing with this deficiency. One way is by driving better patient care through the application of technology and the data insights afforded by it. Technology has taken huge leaps forward and has the ability to support a stronger health service in the UK and the system should be developed to capitalise on this.

Using data, real change can be created, namely how we are able to predict and tackle health problems across the population, particularly around chronic diseases.  This is vital for reducing paperwork, improving patient management and the patient experience within the NHS as it copes with an aging population. Bio-informatics and data-driven healthcare should take more of a role in supporting a broader strategic transformation of the NHS, turning it into a predictive care body that tackles disease before it strikes.

Digitising patient records and making them available across the NHS will help with long term goals of cutting costs and predicting pathways to better health. It is these changes that should be considered ahead of charging patients a monthly fee.