Providers in dire need of connectivity

Frost & Sullivan report shows many healthcare providers lagging on plan for device connectivity
By Bernie Monegain
11:01 AM
Puzzle pieces

Connected health infrastructure is emerging in healthcare as a binding agent for diverse devices and workflows, aiding diagnosis, monitoring and prevention, according to new analysis from Frost & Sullivan.

For such an infrastructure to be efficient, stakeholders must first ensure that interoperability and connectivity standards are in place, researchers write in in Healthcare and Medical Device Connectivity and Interoperability. They write that the adoption of a connected healthcare infrastructure is not uniform across the world. This is primarily due to the lack of a holistic digital healthcare strategy that focuses on integrated care models.

"More than 50 percent of healthcare providers do not have a healthcare IT roadmap, although they acknowledge the role of digital health in enhancing healthcare efficiency," writes Frost & Sullivan Healthcare Research Analyst Shruthi Parakkal. "Consequently, even the existing interoperability standards such as HL7, DICOM and Direct Project are not being utilized optimally by many providers."

Also, he adds, hospitals are often required to update processes and workflows through expensive upgrades and reviews of codes and software. This process becomes more complicated in the absence of vendors that can guarantee connectivity between devices from various manufacturers.

"Hospitals/healthcare providers have an urgent requirement for connected devices and health IT solutions not only to manage healthcare data, but also to qualify 'Meaningful Use' requirements and be eligible for electronic health record incentives," noted Parakkal. "Therefore, manufacturers of vendor-agnostic and open medical connectivity solutions are in demand, as they facilitate the integration of devices from different original equipment manufacturers."

Alliances and gateways that harness interoperability and enable information sharing between devices and health IT solutions from different vendors will go a long way in augmenting connectivity. Meanwhile, technology advances in WiFi, Bluetooth, and radio frequency identification are also stoking market advancement.

The intensifying focus on healthcare interoperability in FDA guidelines is expected to add thrust to the development of the market for healthcare and medical device interoperability and connectivity.

Read the report here.