Information technology (IT) has the potential to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of clinical care. IT is not new to the hospital setting. Computers and software have been used for many years to improve the paper-based administrative functions of hospital support staff, such as scheduling and billing. But the use of IT in the clinical setting to optimize, streamline and simplify patient records, testing, imaging and operating room procedures has lagged behind its medical administrative applications.
The evolution of IT in patient care is generally limited. Its use varies with the application and setting. However, it appears that providers plan to increase their investment in IT in the near term because of what the technology offers—the promise of improving the quality of patient care and gains in efficiency. But barriers to increased investment include the cost and complexity of IT implementation, which necessitates, in part, making cultural changes to the hospital or healthcare institution. Certain characteristics of the healthcare market, including payment policies that reward volume rather than quality may also pose barriers to IT adoption. But given IT’s potential, both the private and public sectors have engaged in efforts to promote its use within and across healthcare settings.
This report analyzes the current and potential U.S. hospital market for care-related clinical information technology. This includes IT systems used in the process of administering care to patients, such as the electronic medical record, physician order entry systems, and PACS. Applications included in this report involve all departments, such as cardiology, radiology, the emergency department, and so on. Wired and wireless technologies are also included. However, the use of IT for hospital administration functions, such as billing, is not the subject of this report and sales of such systems are not considered in the market analysis.
This report emphasizes the current and future markets for clinical information system products. The report generally reviews the nature and direction of development, as well as future markets. It also profiles several companies involved in marketing or development of IT for these applications, including Epic Systems, GE Healthcare, IBM, and Verichip.
Market forecasts are based on an examination of current market conditions and on investigations into the development of new products by key companies. The information presented in this report is the result of data gathered from company product literature and other corporate brochures and documents, as well as information found in the scientific and trade press. In addition, interviews were conducted with company executives, clinicians, researchers, hospital administrators, and public health officials.