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Frost & Sullivan: Finding Healthcare's 'Holy Grail'


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SINGAPORE, July 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Faced with escalating treatment costs and pressure to be affordable while searching for efficiency and better quality, hospitals are turning towards Health IT (HIT) for assistance where patient care is no longer the sole responsibility of doctors and nurses alone.

Dr. Pawel Suwinski, Principal Consultant, Healthcare Practice, Frost & Sullivan commented that the total recorded revenue of Health IT from Asia Pacific in 2009 reached an astounding USD 7.1 billion. The sum is a near 15% contribution to the total revenue figure for the industry globally.

"With an estimated steady growth of 11.3% CAGR (2009 - 2012) and an estimated leap to USD 10 billion revenue by 2012, it will come as no surprise that a majority of healthcare providers in the APAC region indicated that they are likely to keep their IT budgets intact, if not increased, despite going through a difficult recession in 2009," says Suwinski.

Following a research conducted by Frost & Sullivan on 40 CIO/CFO's from leading hospitals around the APAC region, 80% reported that they are looking at retaining or increasing their hospital's IT budget for the year.

Healthcare IT forms a pivotal role in today's healthcare system and it extends beyond mere information capturing, storing, and management. Being able to access the relevant information at the point of care - on the go - as well as interpret the many patient's stored medical data enables medical professionals to take the best course of action on both clinical and management level.

The healthcare industry is still lagging behind other industries in the adoption of information technologies. At present, the gap stands at about 5 to 10 years, depending on products and technologies, but it is shrinking fast as HIT adoption and growth rates are outperforming other industries.

Improving quality of care, enhancing patient safety, and increasing patient satisfaction, while drastically reducing medical errors and administration burden has become an important criteria to most hospitals. This is made possible with the induction of Health IT systems in the healthcare delivery environment.

Technologies such as the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) are meant to accurately capture patient information to be shared with each member of the hospital team. Beyond that, EMR systems link different healthcare industry stakeholders by enabling seamless flow of patients' medical records from different healthcare providers, as well as pertinent insurance and billing information. Medical errors due to illegible notes written by physicians during patient charting are also drastically reduced with implementation of EMR systems.

Suwinski comments, "Although Asia Pacific countries may be slow adopters in Health IT, they are beginning to realize that in order to compete with their western counterparts strategically, they will need to step up their IT integration to clinical care." Countries such as Japan and Korea have spent a total of USD 299 million and USD 56 million respectively on EMR systems within their hospitals.

Other hospitals around the Asia Pacific region are also increasing their IT budgets to implement various technology systems to improve clinical service offering to their patients. Suwinski believes that the healthcare model will soon evolve from reactive sick-care concept to more pro-active personalized medicine in the near future. Further in time, fusion of wellness and illness care, including personalized and traditional medicine, will create the framework for a "cradle-to-tomb" approach in managing someone's health.

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