2019 Healthcare IT Spending Trends – What We’re Seeing

By Rich Staas

Director of Client Services, NPI

March 29, 2019

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Healthcare IT spending continues to tick upwards – but how much of that spend is going toward transformational IT initiatives? Industries like retail and banking have been driving (and battling) digital disruption for a few years now. The healthcare industry is now starting to feel (and capitalize on) the impact of digital disruption. Big investment in IT solutions and services that will have a transformational impact on healthcare delivery are beginning to get underway.

Here are a few areas of innovation where we’re seeing our clients devote more and/or new IT spend:

Internet of Things (IOT)
NPI has seen substantial growth in IoT in recent years, from mobile apps to remote monitoring, smart sensors and wearables. The goal is to maximize resources and facilitate better engagement and connectivity between clinicians and patients. The IoT in healthcare is making it possible for clinicians to monitor patients anywhere (at home, in the office, on the go, or even abroad). The net effect is a reduction in cost and time spent on diagnosis and treatment. IoT will enable substantially better asset tracking and inventory management systems improving patient safety, staff satisfaction and operational efficiency. This technology is still evolving, and healthcare providers will have challenges with managing the data as well as keeping it secure.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The potential impact of AI on the delivery of healthcare is mind-boggling. Brain computer interfaces, virtual biopsies, app-driven diagnostics in underserved countries…the list is endless. But, for today, healthcare providers are increasingly investing in AI and predictive analytics to facilitate and increase efficiency in more task-oriented activities like:

  • Scheduling
  • Automation of routine paperwork
  • Accounting
  • Time-sheet entry

Telehealth
NPI has seen a noticeable uptick in healthcare IT spending in the area of telehealth and expects that to continue throughout 2019 and beyond. These technologies leverage both IoT-enabled medical devices and artificial intelligence discussed above to provide:

  • Remote Patient Monitoring – patients can ask questions so small issues do not become big
  • Virtual Interactions – builds personal connections between patients, families, and care providers
  • Mobile Health – virtual care any time from any place
  • Store and Forward – allows collaboration between care providers on complex cases

Big Data and Analytics
Like with many other types of organizations, healthcare technology innovations have dramatically increased the amount of health data gathered about individuals. While this data gets integrated into clinical workflows it allows for healthcare organizations to gain more insights and value from massive amounts of patient data. Big data is allowing for quicker and easier diagnoses as well as helping health insurance providers to monitor their customer’s health more closely to allow for enhancements in insurance products.

How to Eliminate Overspending on Healthcare IT

As healthcare organizations embrace these innovations, the risk of overpaying for these solutions and services grows commensurately. If hospitals want to avoid overspending on IT purchases and renewals (whether led by innovation or maintaining the status quo), they must answer 3 key questions:

  • Is deal pricing in line with what my peers are paying or for deals of similar size/scope?
  • If not, what are specific pricing targets for this purchase to bring it into alignment?
  • Does the vendor offer other pricing/licensing/subscription options that would meet my organization’s business and technical requirements for a lower cost?

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