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Omdia 2021 Healthcare IT Survey unveils the picture of digital transformation in healthcare facilities around the world

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70 per cent of healthcare respondents surveyed say that the priority of AI and telehealth increased under the impact of the pandemic.

Each year, Omdia conducts a worldwide end-user survey to gain a perspective on healthcare information technology (IT). In October 2021, Omdia interviewed 278 respondents from the healthcare industry, including general hospitals, long-term care facilities, and standalone clinics, asking questions about their healthcare IT projects, including investments priorities, challenges, and drivers for digital transformation.

The survey findings reflect the digital transformation in healthcare facilities around the world. Omdia summarises some key observations as below.

Observation 1: Digital transformation in healthcare is accelerated.

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  • The proportion of global healthcare facilities to significantly increase their healthcare IT budget (6 per cent or more) has been growing over the years.
  • Larger healthcare establishments tend to invest more (relative to size) in digital transformation. This is mainly because larger facilities have more health data, and therefore more potential efficiency savings from digital transformation.

Observation 2: Global healthcare facilities are still at an early stage of digital transformation.

  • 45 per cent of the healthcare IT budget in 2020 was spent on electronic data capture. Electronic data capture will remain a major part of spending in the next 18 months.
  • The applications of telehealth/telemedicine and AI are still very limited. This is largely due to the unmatured state of health data digitalisation and interoperability.

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Observation 3: The trends of AI and telehealth are accelerated.

  • 70 per cent of respondents say that the priority of AI and telehealth increased under the impact of the pandemic. They will increase their spending accordingly.
  • Telemedicine has been expanding prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As per the survey, 34 per cent of healthcare facilities will increase telemedicine adoption to more than 50 per cent of their total practice by 2023.

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Observation 4: Skill gap and security concerns continue to be key challenges in achieving digital transformation.

  • 43 per cent of respondents report skill gap and security concerns as the top two barriers in achieving digital transformation.
  • Security is not only about how patient data is handled and used but also about whether the digital infrastructure is robust enough to protect against cyberattacks.
  • New technologies inevitably lead to new types of activities for healthcare, which requires new skills.

Conclusion

Digital transformation is a key theme for global healthcare systems. Digital transformation in healthcare is an evolving process, involving various stages.

The findings of Omdia 2021 Healthcare IT Survey unveil the early stages of digital transformation among healthcare facilities around the world. The findings regarding the challenges of digital transformation remain consistent with the Omdia 2020 Healthcare IT survey. However, the survey findings suggest the healthcare facilities of the world are accelerating their digital transformation in spite of these challenges.

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