Health care is becoming the fastest-growing vertical for U.S. businesses, with (IAAS) (infrastructure as a service) leading the way, according to a new report by research firm In-Stat. IT spending in health care will grow 29 percent from 2010 to 2015, the company reports.
"The health care vertical segment, across all sizes of business, and across nearly all product groups, is fast becoming the most robust business vertical segment in U.S. business markets," Greg Potter, an In-Stat analyst, said in a statement. "Demand for cloud computing services in particular has exploded, and we see nothing that would indicate that the trend won't continue at least through 2015."
The need for health care IT gets more urgent as the population of people ages 55 and over grows and records move from paper to electronic, Potter suggested.
"Health care records are increasingly becoming more digitized, and the need for storage and recall of these records from multiple locations requires a robust IT infrastructure," Potter wrote in an e-mail to eWEEK.
In-Stat released its report "Healthcare and Social Services Spending on Telecom Services: Wireline Voice, Wireline Data, Wireless, Cloud Computing and VoIP by Size of Business" on Aug. 1.
Health care firms will spend $518 million on IAAS in 2015, and IAAS will grow to a $4 billion market across all industries by that year, according to the firm.
IAAS is a type of cloud computing in which companies can provision storage, hardware, servers and networks over the Internet. Although companies don't manage or control the cloud infrastructure itself, they can control operating systems, storage, applications and possibly networking components such as host firewalls, Potter explained.
The other areas of cloud computing are SAAS (software as a service) and PAAS (platform as a service). Companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce.com and VMware offer PAAS products that provide the infrastructure to run applications over the Web.
Meanwhile, SAAS spending will grow 150 percent from 2010 to 2015, according to In-Stat. Several companies use SAAS to run software from the cloud, including EHR (electronic health record) vendors ClearPractice and NaviNet.
Small businesses are adopting cloud computing in large numbers, according to Potter. Of those health care firms investing in cloud computing, more than half are small businesses of 5 to 99 employees, he noted.
"The overall growth is being led by small businesses," Potter said. "Most of these businesses are realizing there are tremendous cost savings in utilizing public cloud services."
Home and small-office businesses are making use of cloud storage services. As these small businesses expand, they'll adopt IAAS for Web hosting and software using virtualized servers, he said.
Meanwhile, spending on wireless connectivity by health care enterprises will increase by about 12 percent from 2010 to 2011, In-Stat reports.
Spending on wireless will be fueled by a large market for wireless health-monitoring devices, according to a recent study by IBM's Institute for Business Value. Wireless health-monitoring vendors include A&D Medical, Medtronic, Nonin, 3M and Omron.
With new specifications now available for the Bluetooth 4.0 wireless standard, this holiday season could bring new health-monitoring devices to market.