Health IT Dominated By Minority Of Service Providers

CompTIA survey found that many IT firms want to enter the lucrative healthcare market, but many aren't sure where to begin.
Slideshow: Who's Who In Healthcare IT
Slideshow: Who's Who In Healthcare IT

The Internet-based survey, conducted in July, interviewed 370 IT firms and 300 healthcare providers including doctors, dentists, nurses, physician assistants, and office managers.

Among the trends noted in the report are:

-- A third of healthcare practices expect to increase IT spending by more than 5% over the next year. Group practices are most likely to increase spending, while solo practices are more likely to keep IT spending levels flat.

-- The desire for mobility and ease of use continues to drive many decisions. Roughly a fourth of doctors and dentists say they plan to purchase a tablet PC for their practice over the next 12 months.

-- Eighty percent of doctors say the EMR users in their practice need significantly more (23%) or a bit more (56%) training. This supports the view that there are potential opportunities for EMR vendors and/or IT firms to engage in EMR deployment along with technical training.

-- Nearly half -- 43% -- of healthcare providers do not have a website for their practice, although 19% indicate they plan to implement one with in the next 12 months.

-- Slightly more than half of healthcare providers believe security threats have increased over the past two years, while 47% believe there hasn't been any significant change. When assessing overall concerns, respondents in this study cite HIPAA compliance as their most pressing issue (7%). This was especially true among solo practices without the time or resources of the larger practices.

-- Among IT solution providers in the healthcare space, 59% report offering a software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based EMR system. Drivers of the decision to offer a SaaS solution include greater revenue potential (58%) along with the desire to establish a long-term relationship with the customer and realize a reoccurring revenue stream.

The report's conclusion is that opportunities abound for IT firms with the expertise to help healthcare providers leverage existing technologies and position them to transition to tomorrow's technologies. Further, while many healthcare providers said they only have a basic knowledge of the concepts of cloud computing and managed IT services, they expressed interest in the benefits of these emerging areas.

"The bottom line: As trite as it sounds, IT firms must work to truly understand the needs of the healthcare sector and then position their products and services accordingly. The odds of success improve dramatically by doing so," the report said.