Policy developments and ongoing projects show greater involvement of ICT solutions in healthcare, with telemedicine already gaining momentum
LONDON, Sept. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In Russia, information and communication technology (ICT) is seen as an important component in the development of the healthcare sector and is given high priority in terms of investment. The Russian government has launched the comprehensive Healthcare Development Concept 2020 to deliver multiple benefits for patients and healthcare personnel.
The level of IT deployment in the Russian healthcare sector is currently relatively low. The Russian Ministry of Health notes, that in 2009 only 20.0 per cent of Russian hospitals possessed modern IT systems aimed at increasing operational efficiency. In the same year, each hospital was equipped with 37 computers on average, approximately one device for every five staff members.
"In the last few years, however, IT spending has recovered quickly and is likely to remain positive for the future," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Malgorzata Filar. According to a Frost & Sullivan analysis, expenditure related to information technology (IT) in healthcare totalled $310.0 million in 2010, and this is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.1 per cent to reach $882.0 million in 2017.
The most important policy drivers for ICT investment in the Russian healthcare market is not only the Healthcare Development Concept 2020 but also several major initiatives which are currently being implemented at national and regional levels. Strong support comes as well in form of the lobbying and promotional activities of the Russian Association of Healthcare IT vendors (ARMIT), a group of 284 developers operating in the healthcare sector.
Absence of legislation regulating electronic medical records is one of the main obstacles to the progress of deployment of ICT solutions in Russian healthcare. "This creates a situation where medical organizations, encouraged by the government to implement modern IT systems, do not find the support in the existing legislation," explains Ms Filar.
Currently, more than 300 medical information systems (MIS) are in operation in Russia. Information-exchange standards are not fixed; therefore, implementation of MIS is not carried out systematically and different applications are not compatible with each other. The lack of interoperability makes it impossible to reap the full benefits of existing systems.
However, what is gaining momentum in the e-healthcare sector in Russia is telemedicine, as most of the medical services are only available in larger cities and travelling distances to reach them from rural areas are significant. Telemedicine has become more popular thanks to the rapid development of broadband connections and the emphasis on cost effectiveness. This way of remote healthcare in Russia is oriented toward basic video consultations and remote diagnostics.
"Adopting new ICT applications in Russian healthcare has been hindered mainly by insufficient purchasing power from organizations. Moreover, medical personnel is lacking the knowledge and skills to use new systems, nor see tangible benefits of implementing new solutions. Another important aspect already highlighted, is the diversity of available systems and the lack of fixed standards," summarises Ms Filar. "However, these concerns are currently being tackled in national strategies for health, and healthcare IT is expected to expand."
If you would like to learn more about the E-health applications and connected health in Russia, please send an email to Joanna Lewandowska, Corporate Communications, at [email protected]. Please include your full contact details in the query.
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