UK hospital CIOs plan big IT spend this year

Hospital CIOs want to help revive the NHS’ infrastructure with increased spending on IT this year, with a fifth looking at a “significant” investment boost.

Acccording to a report by Ovum, around 42 percent of those in charge of running IT at hospitals will be pour cash into technology spending, with 22 percent looking at large increases compared with only 14 percent last year.

While 22 percent of CIOs were slashing IT budgets last year, this figure has dropped to 17 percent.

Cornelia Wels-Maug, Ovum analyst and author of the report, believes that a recent push towards electronic health records (EHRs) by the government has driven the increase in funding to IT applications, with digital imaging being another area of importance”.

It seems that the need to drive down costs overall could be the source of extra spending on IT, leading CIOs to explore new routes to health care such as “telehealth and mobile health” apparently receiving more attention so that quacks can prod patients remotely.

This is an area which looks set to increase, though this can perhaps be overstated as it will probably still be a good while before your great aunt is booking her appointments on her iPad 2 and having her doctor check her varicose veins from a safe distance.

But the report shows that hardware is of prime importance in IT spending with 31 percent of spending going to upgrading PCs, servers phones and the like, with Wels-Maug telling TechEye that health professionals are incrasingly armed with cutting edge technology. There are even rumours of medical based tablet blueprints looking for production.

Wels-Maug tells us that while IT spending is usually linked with seeking to bring about a reduction in overall costs it is not necessarily at the expense of jobs.

“It means that empty appointments and duplication of tests results for example are less likely to occur,” she says, “meaning an increase in efficiency helping to streamline the process and give patients better care.”

With all the increaed expenditure on software and hardware systems there is of course an increased risk in terms of security, something highlighted by an industry expert to Techeye recently.

It appears CIOs do not completely have their heads in the sand, with Wels-Maug telling us that such concerns rated highly across those asked.

“Security is an incredibly important consideration,” she said.