Wi-Fi Health Care Systems to Hit $4.9B

By Roy Mark  |  Posted 2009-07-09 Print this article Print

Driven by $20 billion in stimulus funds for digital medical records, a research firm sees a boom for Wi-Fi RTLS hardware and software, access points, managed services, and pure Wi-Fi and dual-band handsets.

Worldwide sales of Wi-Fi-enabled health care products will hit $4.9 billion in 2014, according to ABI Research, an increase of nearly 70 percent over 2009 levels. The predicted boom is based on the $20 billion of stimulus funds dedicated to the digitizing of medical records and Congress' pending health care reforms.

Increased Wi-Fi penetration in hospitals and health care systems is expected to result in reductions in operating costs, a theme stressed by the Obama administration in its health care initiatives.

"It's a pretty big business," ABI Research Vice President Stan Schatt said in a statement. "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."

The new ABI Research study measures the size of this market, including horizontal market segmentation based on size of establishments. Key components of the market include Wi-Fi RTLS hardware and software, access points, managed services, and pure Wi-Fi and dual-band handsets.

However, the ABI Research report stresses health care Wi-Fi is not a one-stop shop. "No one vendor has all the necessary pieces to make a complete system for a major medical institution. It is truly a Tower of Babel," Schatt said.

Schatt added that there will be a premium on partnerships and systems integration. Generally it's the wireless LAN 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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