Trends in hospital technology

Hugh Curley from GE Capital reveals insights from research into trends in Healthcare technology investment

Trends in hospital technology

Trends in hospital technology investment

Hugh Curley is Strategic Relationship Manager at GE Capital for Epson’s European end-user financing programme

At GE Capital we work closely with businesses, including those in the Healthcare industry, to help finance investments – many of which are in technology.  Particularly in uncertain economic times, with hospitals in Europe and elsewhere facing demands for improved services on lower budgets, the ability to use finance to secure labour-saving efficiency from technology is proving popular.

To better understand the future direction and needs of healthcare technology investments, we’ve published a Hospital Sentiment Report, along with the European Association of Hospital Managers, which collates perspectives from 382 senior decision makers in the hospital industry, each with responsibility for technology purchasing decisions in hospitals within the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Australia and Japan.

The findings suggest that despite economic challenges, the hospital sector is coping surprisingly well. Many hospital managers have adapted to the challenge of delivering more with fewer resources.  Many also express confidence in their ability to continue to provide the best available treatments; all this while accepting that the funding environment for healthcare providers will remain difficult.

Reasons for investing in new technology

Overall, our research found that managers are looking for ways to improve flexibility and cost-efficiency of healthcare delivery, while at the same time increasing its quality. In particular the research highlights that hospitals are increasingly interested in solutions that enable them to rationalise processes and reduce costs.

Significantly, managers also felt that if they failed to invest in technology, the main impacts would be a drop in efficiency, higher maintenance costs, negative effective on profitability and losing staff.

Main areas of technology investment

Our findings also suggested that in the coming year IT and technology is an area that hospitals across the surveyed countries are looking to boost, alongside operating theatre equipment.

Hospital managers know that the market is developing technologies that can provide crucial efficiency gains. They are also aware that a lack of investment in upcoming technologies could result in performance loss and higher maintenance costs. During 2014 and 2015 for example, spending is set to double on automated logistics solutions which help cut costs while boosting capacity.

Spending is also set to double this year on sterilisation equipment, while many hospitals are opting to upgrade their technologies rather than purchasing new machines outright.

In fact, the deterioration of existing equipment is the reason most commonly mentioned by purchase managers for their intentions to invest in the near future. This is particularly true with general imaging and endoscopy equipment, where over a quarter of all future investment is set to be made for this reason.

How are hospital managers investing?

We found that 78% of all those surveyed have purchased IT equipment and/or new software for their hospitals in the last 12 months, making it the area with the strongest investment focus.

We also found that 43% of hospitals employed financing tools to fund purchases of equipment last year. Seven out of every ten hospital decision makers said that they are likely to use as much or more financing as the previous year when new investments are made in the future. Moreover, 18% expect to fund more than 60% of their equipment spending with financial tools.

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