10 Key Healthcare IT trends for 2018 in LATAM (III)
In the previous sections of this article, we discussed seven predictions of Health IT for the year. In this part, we conclude our analysis of the last three trends.
8. Incipient changes in the relationships between health provider clients and ITC providers
In 2018, we will continue to see signs of the immaturity of the Health ITC market in LATAM. Immaturity will be noticed in the demand (consumers of eHealth technology) and in the supply (technology providers).
Many consumers of health technologies – usually public and private hospitals – must show a high level of particularity in their requests. At the same time, they have unrealistic expectations regarding the time and cost of actual deployment.
Providers, instead of working with a formative dialectic, follow suit and promise to meet deadlines/costs that require client monitoring and minimal technologic conditions, which we know will not exist.
We have entered a price war that is harmful for the industry. Consequently, the risk of failure increases, as well as unfulfilled expectations and the dissatisfaction of all players.
Escaping this dynamic is not an easy task and will require a few more years of experience in the industry.
We notice a trend and an opportunity to rethink traditional “client-provider” collaboration models, working towards shared risk models, which are being applied by the pharmaceutical industry, or the aforementioned public-private collaboration models.
9. The most simple “prediction” that we can unequivocally make is there will be security issues
The health sector is not new to intrinsic security risks due to the large quantity of current technologic innovation. Growing interest in solving the interoperability of health systems, in making advanced and predictive analytics or in capturing data directly from the patient through wearable devices require open system gates in order to exchange data with a great variety of sources.
In this context, the need to increase security is a requirement of modern eHealth.
In 2018, unfortunately, we will find new security incidents that may put patient data at risk.
Predictably, we will witness a growth in the demand for specialized services with the sector’s sensibility.
Hospitals should invest in the security of critical systems, such as the Electronic Medical Record, which are essential to their operation and store sensitive information that cybercriminals wish to access.
My recommendation for hospitals in regards to health data security is a security audit of their Electronic Medical Record System and other systems, and asking their provider about the security standards that apply to their eHealth solutions.
10. Growing interest in health technologies investments
In 2018, we must consider the impact of investments that operators outside the region are making in the Latin American health sector, especially companies from the United States and to a lesser extent, from Europe.
The arrival of these operators, who are used to a high degree of hospital computerization, may increase the demand for health ITC solutions. Furthermore, it shall promote the arrival of specialized technology companies, increasing the quality and maturity of the information technology for health subsector in Latin America.
On the other hand, we will notice a growing interest of institutional investors and Latin American venture capitals in eHealth investments.
Although many reliable sources to quantify these operations in the region are lacking, this capital movement is coherent with the interest that major investors have in developed markets, the health sector has countless growth opportunities regarding the use of ITC in health.
Investors in the region are attracted to the potential of subcontinent in which there is “a lot to be done.” However, they are discouraged by the immaturity of the sector and the complexities of bringing innovation to a highly regulated market. Clearly there is money in the market. Those who are serious about information technologies in health and are realistic must make investments with medium to long-term returns.
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