Government initiatives to improve efficiency levels across the healthcare continuum in eastern Europe are resulting in widespread restructuring and the integration of disparate healthcare IT systems. This process will be facilitated by accession to the European Union and associated increases in infrastructure building funding flows. However, centralized purchasing will hamper the rapid expansion of these emerging healthcare IT markets.
"Accession to the European Union will motivate government-backed initiatives to develop information infrastructure and expand functionality through various eGovernment schemes in healthcare," says Frost & Sullivan Research Associate Deepa Vaideswaran. "At the same time, structural funds to member states for the improvement of public infrastructure - including the provision of healthcare -will facilitate the implementation of requisite healthcare IT solutions."
The embryonic east European market is projected to grow at a steeper rate than its more mature western counterpart. However, political instability is likely to negatively impact healthcare provision.
At the same time, with most funding for healthcare IT contracts being tilted in favor of the public sector, opportunities for private sector participants have been limited. The resultant lack of competition has done little to encourage the public sector to ensure greater cost effectiveness and has, in turn, dampened public sector investments into more advanced IT solutions.
Many vendors prefer dealing with private clients since they control their own finances, are not influenced by the cyclical nature of government healthcare policy and moreover, give due importance to acquiring technically superior products (even if they are high cost). However, vendors have found it hard to establish a consistent and sustainable client base in the private sector. This is because notwithstanding legislation supporting a burgeoning private sector in eastern Europe, many governments have continued to resist relinquishing control to private practices and healthcare funds.
"The predominance of individual solutions catering to niche healthcare segments and the lack of standardized regulations across geographic regions is impeding global participants from penetrating these emerging markets," says Vaideswaran. "With increasing concerns about cost, quality, interoperability and patient safety, vendors keen on venturing into the emerging eastern European healthcare IT market must focus on developing economical solutions that can be easily customised and integrated."
Frost & Sullivan, a global growth consulting company, has been partnering with clients to support the development of innovative strategies for more than 40 years. The company's industry expertise integrates growth consulting, growth partnership services, and corporate management training to identify and develop opportunities. Frost & Sullivan serves an extensive clientele that includes Global 1000 companies, emerging companies, and the investment community by providing comprehensive industry coverage that reflects a unique global perspective and combines ongoing analysis of markets, technologies, econometrics, and demographics.
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