In a new market report, In-Stat/MDR (www.instat.com) says that in the vertical healthcare market, Wi-Fi and security shipments will rise significantly over the next three years. The researcher gives two primary reasons for this trend. First, healthcare providers are shifting their focus from a predominant interest in technology to a keener focus on applications and leveraging existing infrastructure to enable those applications. And, the government is placing strict requirements on the security of data transfer and storage, forcing healthcare organizations to overhaul their existing security solutions.
"The healthcare vertical, over the past several years, has fallen behind many of the other verticals in terms of technology adoption," says Amy Cravens, senior analyst with In-Stat/MDR. "However, as emerging forces place increasing pressure on this market, the need to update the IT infrastructure is intensifying.
"Emerging government standards, such as HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act], are mandating a more robust and standardized approach to electronic communications and networking from healthcare providers. Additionally, given the changing nature of the healthcare industry, technology is the only promise for future improvements to medical services."
Portions of HIPAA demand that the Department of Health and Human Services establish national standards for electronic health-care transactions and national identifiers for providers, health plans, and employers. It also addresses the security and privacy of health data. The goal is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the nation's health-care system by encouraging the widespread use of electronic data interchange in healthcare.
In-Stat/MDR says that healthcare accounted for about 8 percent of security shipments and revenue in 2000, but is expected to be around 15 percent of both shipments and revenue by 2006.
In a release announcing the report entitled "Curing the Ailing Healthcare Vertical: Is Recovery Around the Corner?" In-Stat/MDR said that even before standardization, the healthcare environment has always been a principle vertical for wireless LANs. The firm says that adoption has further increased with the introduction of higher-speed, more-robust solutions. Many healthcare organizations with prestandard solutions in place have upgraded to 802.11b, g, or a.