Despite $3.2B HIT spend in Europe, clinical IT investment lacking

Health professionals in Europe are embracing integrated technology, but only to an extent, according to a recent report by the European Coordination Committee of the Radiological, Electromedical and Healthcare IT Industry (COCIR). The report found that hospitals in western Europe--the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain--spent roughly $3.2 billion on health IT in 2010, according to an article in Health Imaging, but most of that spend went toward administrative IT.

Additionally, the level of equipment utilized "varie[d] greatly" between different countries, the authors noted.

"More investment in clinical information is needed to move today's healthcare delivery models to the next level of efficiency and quality," the report's authors wrote. "Industry calls for more investment in order to move to integrated, more efficient, safer and patient-centered healthcare systems."

For instance, only 10 percent of hospitals in Europe use computerized physician order entry (CPOE). Clinical decision support, meanwhile, was "almost nonexistent," with less than 1 percent of hospitals touting such technology.

Overall, 37 percent of technology spending for hospitals went toward administrative IT, according to Health Imaging. Thirty-one percent went toward clinical IT.

The UK spent more than $220 million on health IT in 2010, the report's authors found, with Germany spending the second most of the five nations examined at nearly $190 million. Spain ($25.3 million) spent the least on health IT.

This report comes on the heels of a recent U.S. survey by technology services firm Accenture that found doctors here to be somewhat skeptical of health IT. Roughly 40 percent of the 3,700 doctors surveyed said they thought connected health had either a negative impact, no impact or an unknown impact on reducing unneeded procedures, improving access to services and improving patient outcomes.

To learn more:
- here's the survey (.pdf)
- read the Health Imaging article