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Wi-Fi healthcare revenue to hit $4.9B by 2014

Posted: 17 Jul 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Wi-Fi? healthcare? wireless communications?

Noting that the healthcare industry has always been an early adopter of Wi-Fi, a new study from ABI Research stated that revenue from sales of Wi-Fi-enabled healthcare products worldwide will total $4.9 billion in 2014. This represents an increase of nearly 70 percent over the current figure.

The U.S. Stimulus Bill allocates $20 billion for the digitizing of medical records, and the U.S. Congress is working on the comprehensive reform of the country's medical industry. This accounts for about one sixth of the U.S. economy. These two factors are focusing attention as never before on healthcare opportunities for wireless communications.

"It's a pretty big business," said ABI Research VP Stan Schatt. "The strong uptake of Wi-Fi in the health industry is underpinned by its need for improved asset management, staff mobility, transfer of digitized records, and standardized administration of medications. In addition, government security requirements including HIPAA often mean replacing older wireless equipment with modern versions."

Increased Wi-Fi penetration will bring about reductions in operating costs, a theme stressed by the Obama administration in its drive for healthcare reform.

Schatt, however, warned that "no one vendor has all the necessary pieces to make a complete system for a major medical institution." He described the industry as "truly a Tower of Babel." Thus, partnerships and systems integration are very important. Generally it's the WLAN equipment channel partner that integrates all these things and makes them work together. The manufacturers have to develop technology partnerships too, and share information so that devices can be optimized for their systems.

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