The healthcare industry has always offered IT solution providers great opportunities. However, with the recent emphasis on improved patient outcomes and various new regulations to increase safety, there’s never been a better time to be in the market. The healthcare industry has many needs and solution providers like you can address them.
With the industry’s biggest conference, HIMSS 2018, just around the corner, we sat down with James Pemberton, Director, Global ISV & Developer Strategy at Zebra Technologies to get an understanding of these needs and what trends ISVs should expect to see at the show.
According to Pemberton, one trend that could offer the most opportunity to ISVs is the increasing willingness to adopt technology-based solutions to address challenges like patient identification. “Technology-based solutions like Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS), RFID tagging, and multi-purpose mobile computing help ensure that clinicians have the correct patient data at all times to enable the right treatment in a timely manner,” he explains. “Mobile computing technology also helps increase secure communication and efficiency between staff and enhances productivity so that hospital staff can spend more time with their patients.” Pemberton goes on to say that these opportunities apply to both small healthcare providers and large systems.
Also, according to Zebra’s recent The Future of Healthcare: 2022 Hospital Vision Study, Pemberton says hospitals are under pressure to support growing demands due to aging populations, staff shortages and rising costs. “Worldwide, hospitals are increasingly turning to technology and automation to reduce the strain on an already overburdened system,” he says. “It’s important for ISVs to acknowledge the expanding use of mobile devices. Hospitals are already realizing gains in productivity by outfitting key personnel with this technology.”
He continues by sharing that the study also revealed an increase in the number of medical disciplines embracing clinical mobility including ER nurses, pharmacists, and lab technicians. “Rich applications, remote patient monitoring, and artificial intelligence will enliven the daily work experience and empower clinicians with greater insights,” he says. We expect many exhibitors at HIMSS to be showcasing solutions aligned with these trends.
New Regulations Affect EMEA ISVs
As mentioned previously, regulations are a huge driving force behind technological adoption in the healthcare industry. There’s no reason to think this trend won’t continue. Indeed, Pemberton says that forthcoming Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) regulation in EMEA will have a significant impact on ISVs in the near term. This arose due to the concern of the European Union about the increasing threat of counterfeit or falsified medicines to public health and safety. “In 2011, the European Commission (EC) started work to amend Directive 2001/83/EC to address these concerns under the FMD,” he says. “The final phase of the FMD is due to be rolled out February 9, 2019, a date which is not far ahead when it comes to implementing new software and hardware to enable hospitals and pharmacies to comply with the directive.” In short, the window of opportunity for ISVs is now and will close quickly.
However, if you’re a North American-based ISV thinking you can easily leverage this opportunity, take caution. Pemberton warns that healthcare markets are structured differently in other countries. “They can have varying levels of state-control versus a market comprised of private providers,” he says. “This can dramatically affect the way a new ISV needs to tackle the market and the speed of adoption of new technology.”
Of course, all this represents just a fraction of the opportunity present in the healthcare industry today, and only a fraction of what you’ll see at HIMSS. That’s the beauty of this market. Savvy software developers can succeed by building a business around any one of these trends. Find your healthcare niche and thrive.