Health IT spend to grow

The Australian health sector is turning to IT as the answer to increasing pressure to be more cost-effective according to an analyst.

Gartner's vice president Asia Pacific, Richard Harris, said while the health sector is typically not a "big spender" when it comes to IT, it is now increasing its spend on technology.

"Customer relationship management (CRM) has been viewed as important, but not a lot of effort has been put in by the health sector to implement and make it work," he said.

"The health sector, including payers and providers, will be under real pressure in the next few years trying to work out how to deal with patients cost effectively and in ways more satisfying to customers," Harris said.

He said the health sector also has a desire to move to the "real-time enterprise" which will be a big challenge moving from paper based ways of capturing information such as pathology results to digital.

Other huge challenges for the health sector according to Harris includes issues surrounding privacy and security.

"Ensuring that users are authenticated correctly and securely in a non face-to-face way is a challenge. But the technology to do this now exists, so we will see movement in the next two to three years with applications being implemented to support this," Harris said.

Gartner is planning new research into IT spending in the health sector next month.

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