The U.S. health-care system is poised to spend $69 billion on telecom services over the next six years. That’s a finding from Insight Research in its new report looking at the future of telecom spending by hospitals, doctors, clinics and insurance providers from 2012 to 2017.
Spending by these health-care entities will grow at a compound rate of nearly 10 percent per year through ’17, increasing from $9.1 billion in 2012 to $14.4 billion as the number of health-care locations expands by 16 percent and the health-care employment rate increases two-and-a-half times faster than the total national employment rate.
What will be behind the growth? Insight says external forces, including federal policies, an aging population, and health-care worker shortages are encouraging the industry to find alternative approaches to current treatment practices. Much of the high costs inherent in the current system are related to the proximity of patient and provider, as well as to the archaic administrative systems used to manage records and exchange information. Telecommunications, the researcher says, can bridge these proximity and system gaps.
"Health-care providers are avid consumers of telecommunications services and new technology. The combination of increased demand for wireless and broadband access, massive data storage demands, and the conversion to electronic health records (EHRs) and procedures is straining existing health-care networks," said Fran Caulfield, Insight research director. "Our research measures key operational factors, such as population trends, patient monitoring, and cloud-based storage requirements, and then we quantify the demands for telecommunications services and equipment that will be needed to satisfy these demands. No surprises the research points to strong demand."