Mobile solutions within the Australian healthcare sector are key to reeling in spending, according to the International Data Corporation.
The analyst firm says as the Australian healthcare sector spends more and faces increasingly complex demands, conditions are ripe for mobility initiatives.
According to a 2008 National Health and Hospital Reform Commission (NHHRC) review, the healthcare system is fragmented and inefficient. Healthcare expenditure outpace GDP growth, with an average annual growth of 5%, it revealed.
IDC says as expenditure rises, the need to drive out inefficiency is far more critical than ever before. Research from the company suggests 3rd Platform technologies play a key role in transforming the healthcare system to meet the growing demands.
The key efficiency inhibitor is the way information is stored, shared and used, IDC says. The company says three billion dollars can be salvaged from healthcare spending as a result of minimising medical errors. According to the research, 18% of medical errors stem from a lack of patient information.
As the groundwork is finally taking shape, particularly in Electronic Medical Records (eMR), Australian hospitals are entering a stage where the opportunity for digital transformation and mobility initiatives can yield substantial results.
“78.7% of Australian healthcare providers prioritised mobility initiatives over other projects.” says Joseph Hsiao, Mobility Market Analyst at IDC Australia.
Hsiao says Australia and New Zealand lead the way in the Asia/Pacific region in enterprise mobility maturity. “IDC’s Asia/Pacific Mobility MaturityScape identifies healthcare at the repeatable stage where mobility gains strategic importance as it is accepted by the organisation and key stakeholders,” he explains.
“All these factors point towards adoption of mobility services aimed at delivering a positive return on investment.”
Hsiao says the healthcare workforce is intrinsically a mobile workforce and obtaining access to information at point-of-care is essential.
Key mobile technologies in healthcare transformation according to IDC:
Tablets and smartphones are finding a place in hospitals due to its portability and cost-effectiveness, Hsiao says.
“Traditionally consumer-focused vendors are offering tablets designed specifically for the healthcare environment and this pattern is expected to be seen across the board.”
In Australia, 84% of the healthcare organisations already have mobile device management policies in place, indicating that they are ready for smartphone and tablet deployment.
Mobile applications are a critical part of the mobility ecosystem as it is the piece of the puzzle that transforms business processes and workflows, says Hsiao. Australian healthcare organisations ranked 3rd in the 2015 IDC Enterprise Mobility Survey the need for unified communications, which aims at limiting productivity loss from travelling around the hospital.
A strong connectivity infrastructure is vital in ensuring the adoption and acceptance of mobility initiatives by clinicians, Hsiao states. Investment in connectivity infrastructure is seen in both new and old hospitals, through greenfield development and network upgrades respectively. IDC data project that wireless LAN spending will grow at a 12.1% compound annual growth rate in the next four years in Australia.