Follow the money: Where Gartner, IDC and HIMSS Analytics say hospitals will invest the most in 2018

With bold projections that we are on the cusp of the biggest IT spending growth in a decade, new predictions from industry analysts show how much, and on which technologies, hospitals will acquire, modernize or optimize IT.
By Tom Sullivan
09:24 AM
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IT spending is on the rise. Everyone working in healthcare leadership positions, information and technology, or even remotely paying attention to the sector already knows that.

And for executives trying to balance a budget to stay competitive amid a tech talent shortage and ever-evolving regulatory landscape, having a strong sense of where rivals and even partners are planning to spend on IT could prove to be make-or-break insightful.

Let’s take a look at what Gartner, IDC and HIMSS Analytics have to say about IT investment plans in 2018 and beyond.  


Credit: Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast

Global IT spending growth

Gartner posted its newest global IT spending report complete with projections that digital transformation will drive the highest rates of tech investments in more than a decade.

The stalwart IT consultancy put the total at $3.7 trillion  — a figure Gartner said is the “highest annual growth rate since 2007 and would be a sign of a new cycle of IT growth.”

Also noting that such growth is in line with overall economic expansion, Gartner ranked enterprise software as having the highest potential, followed by IT services, devices including PCs, laptops and tablets, and then communications services.  

IDC, for its part, predicted that spending on artificial intelligence and cognitive computing technologies will reach nearly $2 billion this year, while organizations will plunk down $91.4 billion on security hardware, software and services, another $2.1 billion on blockchain.

Those estimates all apply to just this year. The real whoppers extend out into the future: $1.3 trillion on IoT,  $1.6 trillion on mobility tools, and some $20 trillion on the superset known as digital transformation.

To be clear: the IDC and Gartner predictions encompass global IT spending, of which healthcare is one vertical industry, but on the verge of so much activity hospitals should anticipate the rate of technological change and implementation to only get faster starting, well, right about now.

Homing in on healthcare

It’s time to focus specifically on where hospitals are planning to allocate their IT budgets — beginning in 2018 and extending into the next three and five year timeframes. 

Throughout the rest of this year HIMSS Analytics ranked health information exchange, clinical business intelligence, nurse communications system, anesthesia information management systems and electronic forms management as the top areas of installed based growth.

In the next three years, hospitals will invest in population health management, customer relationship management, IT infrastructure and operations management, data archiving, back and recovery, all followed by pharmacy workflow systems and cloud infrastructure computing.

HIMSS Analytics, looking out five years, sees those spending trends continuing with nursing communications systems, electronic forms management, HIE, dictation with speech recognition, and single sign-on dominating hospital tech installations.

Disappearing datacenters

Whereas understanding statistics foretelling hospital spending can help executives plan their own strategies, it can be just as helpful to know where competitors are planning to spend less. Right now that’s datacenters.

Gartner found that investments in data center systems will grow 3.7 percent in throughout 2018, marking a dip from 6.6 percent last year.  That’s not a surprise given that use of cloud computing services is simultaneously gaining traction among hospitals.

IDC has previously said that as hospitals move more and more of their daily functionality into the cloud that will transform how they operate from into lines of business that acquire cloud-based functions and services — think EHR maintenance and optimization, 3D printing or AI and machine learning capabilities for analytics — rather than performing or managing those internally.

That will ideally grant IT executives and professionals more time to spend focusing on investing wisely to make the most of this next wave of spending. And if Gartner, IDC and HIMSS Analytics are even close, CIOs and IT shops are going to need that time.

Twitter: SullyHIT
Email the writer: tom.sullivan@himssmedia.com