Research highlights top investment areas for digital transformation in UK healthcare

Digital and mobile diagnostics, telemedicine, and smart hospitals key focus areas for healthcare services

  • Digitalisation of healthcare provision is widely acknowledged as an enabler to help healthcare organisations cope with rising demand across the globe
  • New research from Siemens Financial Services identifies three priority areas for investment in digital transformation in healthcare and the expected capital investment required over the next five years
  • These are new-generation (digitalised and/or mobile) diagnostics $1.5 billion (£1.17 billion); Remote access and communications platforms (Telemedicine) $1.8 billion (£1.4 billion); Smart, digitalised hospitals $1.7 billion (£1.3 billion)
  • The level of investment required outstrips normal capital budgets available to healthcare providers, so additional private-sector finance is needed
  • Specialist providers are increasingly adapting financing solutions to match healthcare organisations; financial circumstances and thereby offer a sustainable means of achieving digital transformation

New research from Siemens Financial Services reveals the key areas for investment in healthcare digital transformation

Digitalised and mobile diagnostics, telemedicine, and smart hospitals are the three key priority areas for the digital transformation of healthcare services in the UK, according to a new report.

Siemens Financial Services (SFS) has released research identifying the priority investment areas for digital transformation in healthcare, the size of the investment challenge, and how healthcare organisations can manage that challenge.

For the study, SFS interviewed respondents from across the globe, including specialist management consultants, academic commentators, national health departments, medical associations and acute care organisations, to understand where respondents saw the greatest, and quickest, value would come from digitalising healthcare.

And the top three enabling technology investment areas highlighted by respondents were: (a) New-generation (digitalised and/or mobile) diagnostics, (b) Remote access and communications platforms (telemedicine) and (c) Smart, digitalised hospitals.

Diagnostics

Digitalisation is impacting both the administration and management of diagnostic capabilities, and the performance of diagnostic equipment itself.

Digital linkage of devices, for example, allows their clinical deployment to be optimised.

And mobile diagnostic units allow for more-rapid diagnosis and triage, and maximise the use of staffing and equipment resources.

Using specialist knowledge of the healthcare sector, each individual arrangement can be flexed to meet the organisation’s particular clinical and cash-flow needs

Remote access and communications platforms

By enabling patients to consult a doctor remotely, telemedicine can help counter the skills shortage faced by many healthcare systems.

Telemedicine also links doctors to equipment and systems in dispersed locations, and respondents noted that the key to value and return on investment from remote medicine is to link hardware with systems and clinical professionals, as much as digital linkage between doctor and patient.

Mobile diagnostics, telemedicine and smart hospitals are the three main priority areas

Smart digitalised hospitals

There are a wide range of smart hospital applications, for example digitalised asset tracking makes sure the right equipment and technology is in the right place at the right time, dramatically reducing delays and cancellations.

Predictive maintenance, using digital data from physical equipment, keeps precious technology and facilities available when they are needed.

Such technologies make a significant contribution to patient experiences while also reducing the cost of treatment.

SFS’s research conservatively estimates the UK ‘investment challenge’ for these three investment areas alone to amount to very-considerable sums over the next five years.

A range of financing tools is available, designed to enable digital transformation by allowing healthcare organisations to pay to use new-generation technology

Broken down, new-generation diagnostic imaging requires $1.5billion (£1.17billion), telemedicine $1.8billion (£1.4billion), and smart hospitals $1.7billion (£1.3billion) across the five-year period from 2019-2023.

The majority of respondents noted the importance of being able to acquire digital transformation technology, equipment, skills and resources without the need to tie up scarce capital.

And specialist financiers are increasingly offering a range of financing tools designed to enable digital transformation by allowing healthcare bodies to pay to use the new-generation technology, rather than having to buy it outright.

“Using specialist knowledge of the healthcare sector, each individual arrangement, whether for a single piece of technology or equipment, or for an enterprise-wide strategic digital upgrade, can be flexed to meet the organisation’s particular clinical and cash-flow needs,” said Chris Wilkinson, head of sales for healthcare and public sector at SFS UK.

“A range of financing tools is available, designed to enable digital transformation by allowing healthcare organisations to pay to use the new-generation technology. This helps them save precious capital while realising the benefits of digitalisation.”

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