Convergence of Healthcare with ICT accelerates
By Ping Shek
The healthcare market today is driven by the overriding need to deliver better patient care at lower cost, whilst being able to serve ever increasing numbers (from an aging population). Technology and innovation are playing a key role in this. The convergence of medical technology with information and communications technology (ICT) enhances the delivery of patient service whilst enabling more effective clinician workflow and healthcare provider administration.
The sale in June of Medical Insight, a Danish enterprise imaging software company, to Karos Health, a Canadian healthcare IT solutions provider, where PharmaVentures advised Medical Insight, is an example of this continuing consolidation trend.
The ‘electronic medical platform’ (‘EMP’), typically provided by ICT groups, is becoming the workflow and administration backbone for healthcare providers. Medical equipment and devices, patient care venues (eg. operating room, radiology centre etc.), Accident and Emergency, ambulances, remote healthcare infrastructure are all integrated into the platform. This architecture enables mobility, ‘seamless’ interconnection and much improved activity coordination. The EMP plays a crucial role in the delivery of mobile health (mHealth), remote healthcare and home patient care, all of which play significant roles in helping achieve better patient care at lower cost. Importantly, these electronic platforms can be provided using a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model which has distinct commercial advantages for ICT firms.
It is, therefore, not surprising that many ICT companies are starting to invest in technologies and/or partner with companies that enable them to better compete in this huge market. For example, Google has struck up a strategic partnership with Alcon (Novartis) to develop its glucose eye monitoring contact lens; it also has an interest in DNAnexus, a bioinformatics company. Cerner (a healthcare IT company) has teamed up with Siemens to jointly develop solutions in laboratory automation and cardiology information systems. Dell acquired InsiteOne, a cloud-based medical data management systems. Moreover, ICT groups are actively evaluating opportunities to gain access to the healthcare ICT market where the cloud SaaS segment is expected to grow at over 20% per year.
Going forward, we would expect ICT companies to increasingly partner with healthcare IT companies and medical device/equipment makers as part of process of developing the electronic medical platform and integrating technologies to ensure these platforms work effectively across the whole healthcare enterprise. Further, we will see further consolidation in healthcare IT software companies as firms team up to provide more comprehensive IT solutions to healthcare providers that maximise the benefits of being connected to the EMP. The sale in June of Medical Insight, a Danish enterprise imaging software company, to Karos Health, a Canadian healthcare IT solutions provider, where PharmaVentures advised Medical Insight, is an example of this continuing consolidation trend.