HealthManagement, Volume 7 - Issue 2, 2012 HIT

The State of Health IT in Iberia

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In years past, much of the focus on European markets concentrated on the arger economies of Germany, the UK,  France, and Italy. There is relatively little  knowledge of the healthcare IT markets  in other Eurozone countries, particularly  among US vendors looking to expand  into continental Europe.  

This executive brief will focus on the  countries of Spain and Portugal. Unlike  Germany and the Netherlands who  share relatively little in terms of vendor  mix, Spain and Portugal share many market  characteristics. For this reason they  will be discussed jointly in this brief.  

Setting the Stage: The Current Public  System  

Over the course of the 1980s and into  the early 1990s Spanish government  health responsibilities were transferred  from the state to regional health authorities.  The healthcare landscape in Portugal  also underwent a similar shift. This  has enabled Spanish and Portuguese  hospitals to make largely independent  decisions with regards to healthcare IT  infrastructure and other solutions.  

In the early 2000s, Spanish regions  began a push for implementing newer  technologies such as electronic scheduling  and e-prescribing. This development  drew interest from a wide swath  of HIS vendors, including those from  the US and from across Europe. Since  those early initiatives hospitals in both  Spain and Portugal have conducted programmes  which were meant to incorporate  more advanced clinical functionalities.  While these developments have  not been experienced uniformly across  all health regions, they have resulted  in an HIS landscape which is varied in  terms of vendor mix and technology.  A Look at the Vendor Mix  The HIS mix in Spain and Portugal represents  a hodge-podge of vendors.  

HP, Indra, and Siemens have deep  functionality, but also represent rapidly  ageing product lines. Hospitals which  use these solutions are approaching a  decision point about whether they continue  to maintain and build on these  solutions or evaluate new products for  a potential migration.  

While other healthcare markets such  as the US, Germany, and the Netherlands  are obviously trending towards more integrated  solutions and platforms, Spain and  Portugal have proved surprisingly friendly  towards best-of-breed offerings. This  openness to has led to the emergence  of a market with a wide cross-section of  vendors and technologies.  

A Quick Look at the Vendors  

The HIS mix in Spain and Portugal represents  a hodge-podge of vendors:  

  • Alert – One of the newest vendors to enter the space. Excellent UI but  limited clinical depth and untested  ability to deliver on enterprise scale;  
  • Cerner – Immense success in the  US with some international momentum.  Growing clinical capability.  Sizable price tag;  
  • HP – HIS market share leader in  Spain. Good clinical depth. HP no  longer exists as a healthcare IT vendor  in the US;  
  • Indra – Spanish multinational with  the second largest HIS presence in  Spain. A strong vendor with crossindustry  experience;  
  • SAP – Long history in Europe with  healthcare IT solutions. Often collaborates  with Siemens in multiple  industries; and  
  • Siemens – Offers multiple HIS products,  some of which are functionally rich. At a crossroads in offering a  next-gen solution.  
Market Outlook  

The double setback of the global recession  and ongoing Eurozone credit  worries have caused a lot of hospital IT  projects to be put on hold, though many  have not yet been completely cancelled.  Limited budgets and austerity measures  will make new health IT projects tough  to justify, though it is clear that Spain and  Portugal plan to maintain a high levels of  healthcare services to their citizenry.  

The market gap which has yet to be  truly served is the functionally-rich, subscription-  based, remote-hosted clinical  platform which lowers upfront costs as  well as overall IT burden and spend. The  vendor who can deliver that and scale  to demand will have a leg up in Iberia.  

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In years past, much of the focus on European markets concentrated on the arger economies of Germany, the UK, France, and Italy. There is relatively littl...

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