A CRN survey of about 70 UK public and private healthcare organisations saw 78 per cent of respondents expecting at least the same or a bigger IT budget in the coming year. According to respondents, storage, followed by tablet and client mobility were the top three likely areas for investment.
Half cited storage as top priority, and of these, 42 per cent had more than 5,000 users. This indicates a requirement for large systems, as well as concerns over massively expanding data volumes. A further 40 per cent of those polled said they would buy tablet clients and about a third indicated they might purchase laptops.
The healthcare sector clearly still has money to spend. It should remain a great opportunity for the channel, provided VARs deliver good-value offerings that help IT departments and clinicians do more with less, improving patient care along the way.
Vendor-neutral archiving is a perfect point of entry into this sector for business partners. Healthcare organisations are struggling with surging volumes of unstructured data, including medical images, scanned paper reports, voice files, and video being integrated with electronic medical record platforms.
Healthcare organisations’ IT departments and datacentres are struggling to extract the value from their masses of clinical and administrative data while managing the many applications demanded by clinicians and regulators. Such data’s usefulness could outlive the technology on which it sits as well. The channel must help them continue to access and use this data.
I have read that the NHS’s records claim it admitted 17,000 British men for obstetric care between 2009 and 2010. Yet products are available that promise a vendor-neutral, single, searchable, indexed view of all medical and clinical data and others that offer backup, recovery and archiving of clinical data that would go a long way to eliminating such data management errors.
Data entry errors can also be overcome by having patients take more control of their own data. At the Macmillan Cancer Centre at University College Hospital in London, patients check in at airport-style kiosks rather than directly to reception. These booths use barcodes and provide a listing of all the patient’s future bookings, which should ease the process for them.
When choosing an IT provider, the price is obviously important. However, equally important is whether or not the provider can offer the specialised technical expertise and responsiveness required. CRN’s poll also suggested that even smaller business partners that fitted the criteria would be considered by healthcare organisations.
Such organisations already know the value of technology. But the NHS has committed to reduce spending by £20bn by 2015 and save four per cent year on year, so the channel will need to provide new solutions. Resellers should catch up here, and aim to make a real difference.
Peter Blythe is solutions development manager at Avnet Technology Solutions
Today saw 14 of the UK IT channel's biggest hitters come together to determine the winners of CRN's WiC awards. But what does being a WiC judge actually involve? Doug Woodburn reports
'Smaller firms may struggle to keep up with Microsoft's innovation with Dynamics' says CEO Stuart Fenton after acquiring assets from Profile Enterprise Solutions
Pete Peterson admits the firm hasn't always been the 'easiest company to do business with'
New chief exec Aaron Painter says 'longer-term strategy' could see firm tackle the Asian market