Due to the rising need to reduce errors and improve the delivery of healthcare services, hospitals are investing in robust information technology to better patient safety. Along with the need to provide cost-efficient services, this is essentially increasing hospital information systems (HIS) adoption rates.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (healthcare.frost.com), U.S. Hospital Information Systems (HIS) Markets, reveals that the market earned revenues of $10.34 billion in 2005 and is likely to reach $21 billion in 2012.
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“Increasing demand for integrated versions of HIS and customized solutions for individual departments such as clinical laboratory, radiology, pharmacy, and high acuity care areas of the hospital is likely to further market growth,” notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst N.S. Rajaraman.
In addition, the ability of modern systems to provide seamless integration and perfect compatibility is presenting several growth opportunities. Technological improvements are likely to provide complete backward integration, which is likely to improve customization.
Therefore, it is imperative for hospitals to periodically upgrade their systems to effectively reduce errors and improve the efficiency of the service. Although return on investment is high, many hospitals find HIS implementation expensive. Moreover, installation of a hospital-wide enterprise system can require about 36 months, adding to the cost of implementation significantly.
As HIS solutions present several issues that have to be dealt with at various stages, it is essential to hire experts to install these systems. As they are better equipped to deal with the complicated process that stretches across many departments, they can help save valuable time.
Many vendors are offering solutions targeting select regions of the hospital. These stand-alone systems typically require lesser time for installation, provides a certain level of connectivity, and offers limited functionalities. They are customized to meet the specific needs of various departments and offer solutions such that the entire process of the particular department is taken care of, thereby shaping the direction of the information flow in the hospital. Many hospitals prefer to adopt this model, as the cost and time of implementation better suit their plans.
However, stand-alone solutions that work well in small hospitals and restricted departments are often incapable of scaling up to a larger set up. Hence, they become redundant, and have to be either replaced or abandoned. The familiarity with systems, which already exist in the hospital, and the effort required to adopt a newer system cause resistance to change. Physicians, nurses, and other hospital staff need to be properly educated to adopt the new system.
“The industry needs to evolve a standard that would provide a uniform set of services and have the same installing processes,” cites Rajaraman. “This could be achieved through a consensual approach or through acquisitions and mergers.”
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