Healthcare Meets Information Technology, At Last

Health Information Technology is finally gaining traction.  For 30 years the technology has been marginalised by a combination of the hippocratic oath, aversion to investment and incompetent technicians.

Now it seems to be exploding, to the point where the FDA decides there needs to be a whole new category of regulation.  Established vendors like GE and Philips announce new initiatives almost daily, check out the GE Healthcare Information Exchange and Philips new clinician information portal.

New entrants are investing heavily and making a lot of noise about it.  IBM sets up a Medical Analytics facility with 4,000 people.  Microsoft partners with Philips for the portal.  SAS and Accenture partner to offer new software solutions aimed at improving healthcare quality and reducing costs.  And then there’s all the noise about Google getting involved.

What’s caused this sudden burst of interest in the sector with probably the worst history of failed IT projects (in Europe at least)?    It’s a known fact.  Nobody makes money selling IT to the health sector.

There is one factor mentioned in most of the press announcements.  Customers are paying for the innovation with stimulus money.  Presumably there’s something in the rules related to stimulus spending which directs it to investment with a chance of moving forward the state of the art.

Either way its all good news.  Now if we could just get something similar going in Europe, and particularly some awareness by those responsible for helping drive innovation – government agencies, banks, venture capital and other investors.

Our research is all European (although one of our thought leaders is an American citizen working in Europe) and it’s funded by the EU.

Perversely it seems likely we’ll have to take the results to the USA if we’re going to ever bring it to market.


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