The healthcare industry has always been an early adopter of Wi-Fi. A new study from ABI Research forecasts that revenue from sales of Wi-Fi-enabled healthcare products worldwide (not even including Wi-Fi-equipped medical equipment) will total $4.9 billion in 2014. This represents an increase of nearly 70% over today’s figure.
With $20 billion allocated in the US Stimulus Bill for the digitizing of medical records, and committees of the US Congress starting to address proposals for comprehensive reform of a medical industry that accounts for about one sixth of the US economy, attention is focused as never before on the opportunities for wireless communications in healthcare.
“It’s a pretty big business. The strong uptake of Wi-Fi in the health industry is underpinned by its need for improved asset management, staff mobility, transfer of digitized records, and standardized administration of medications. In addition, government security requirements including HIPAA often mean replacing older wireless equipment with modern versions,” explained ABI Research vice president Stan Schatt.
Among the benefits of increased Wi-Fi penetration are reductions in operating costs, which is also a theme stressed by the Obama administration in its drive for healthcare reform. Still, healthcare Wi-Fi is no one-stop-shop.