Wi-Fi enabled health care products to surge with electronic medical records

ABI expects 70% growth over five years

ABI Research forecasts that Wi-Fi-enabled health care products will hit sales of nearly $US5 billion globally in 2014, up 70% from 2009.

The increase is expected partly because of the need to provide wireless networks to support improved asset management, mobile workers, standard administration of medications and digitized records, said Stan Schatt, an ABI analyst.

Government security requirements for healthcare security also call for replacing older wireless equipment with modern gear, Schatt said. The U.S. government's $US20 billion stimulus plan for digitizing medical records will help drive Wi-Fi purchases as well, he said.

Many hospitals already use Wi-Fi, but deployments to cover more areas are under way, and some involve moving to faster and further-reaching 802.11n to carry medical images.

The ABI forecast confirms the growth in medical wireless networks, including Wi-Fi predicted by other analysts, especially for supporting growth of eletronic medical records.

Schatt said that while Wi-Fi can move data throughout a medical center, it is hard for a hospital to find a single vendor to create a complete system. "It is truly a Tower of Babel," when IT managers have to work with various vendors and systems integrators to create system, Schatt said.

As a result, vendor and integration partnerships are highly sought after, he added.

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