Innovation in healthcare services and techniques has saved millions of lives around the world and generally contributed significantly to the high living standards we now enjoy. But when it comes to ICT, the healthcare sector's innovative tendencies give way to more conservative approaches. According to a report into the Australian healthcare ICT market for 2007-2011 by IDC analyst, Phillip Allen, spending is expected to remain flat - at a CAGR of 0.1 per cent - as hardware prices fall and healthcare providers continue to be late adopters of new technology. IDC forecasts the healthcare sector will spend $2.29 billion on ICT by 2011, accounting for juts over 5 per cent of total ICT spending.
Allen noted three main ICT business drivers in the sector. First, healthcare providers are concerned about data privacy and security as a result of a balancing act between patient privacy and ease of communication developments; the main point being how they enhance care using new technologies while also maintaining strict levels of privacy. In second place is workforce productivity. As a result of tight financial constraints, public and private hospitals will increasingly adopt ICT solutions to help improve employee productivity. Finally, reducing costs throughout the business will continue to play a strong role in determining ICT spending.
Know your numbers
0.1% The CAGR ICE forecasts for the Australian healthcare sector during the period 2007-2011.
5.2% The share of total ICT spending in Australia that the healthcare sector represents.
7% The predicted fall in hardware spending within healthcare ICT budgets. In 2007, 46 per cent of ICT budgets went to hardware; in 2011 this is expected to be 39 per cent.
38% The growth expected in mobile data; mobile voice is predicted to experience 10.9 per cent growth.
$583 million The amount put into communications during 2007 including fixed and mobile voice and data.
$1.472 billion The amount in 2007 spent on IT, the majority of which went to hardware, software and services.
$2.029 billion The total IT spend forecast for 2011; the 2007 forecast was $2.055 billion.
-3.9% The CAGR to 2011 for hardware sales. Software and services, however, are expected to experience 9.1 per cent and 4.5 per cent CAGR respectively.
-3.6% The percentage foxed voice is expected to decline; overall IDC believes spending on communications will rise by 1.2 per cent.