Healthcare Industry Information Challenges

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Healthcare Industry Information Challenges


Managing health care information looms as one of the most important issues of the next decades. Scores of organizations have been gathering data on the state of Americans' health, and the effort will accelerate as the baby boomers age and require more and more accurate tracking of their health and treatment status. The inability to move clinical data from place to place—that is to say, the lack of interoperability—clearly hinders delivery of good care around the world. It also imposes barriers to move between healthcare systems. This paper discusses how the information challenges identified by Drucker apply to the healthcare industry.


Information technology is critical to healthcare providers—not only to ensure high-quality patient services but also to reduce administrative and clinical costs. Declining reimbursement, increasing competition, and inefficient resource utilization are all affecting the viability of many healthcare organizations (HCOs). To improve patient care and make rapid and effective decisions, these organizations need to streamline their business processes and deliver information more effectively. (

"Outside of the pure public sector, healthcare is probably the largest industry in the world," points out John Wookey, Oracle's senior vice president of application development, who heads up development of Oracle healthcare solutions. "It's a US$1.2 trillion industry in the United States alone, with IT investments in the hundreds of billions of dollars." (

Yet healthcare is one of the most challenging environments to work in, an interesting combination of extremely advanced technology for patient services and extremely low investments in administrative systems. On average, HCOs spend only 2.6 percent of their operating budgets on IT services. That's about half of the average for manufacturing firms and a quarter of what most banks spend, but healthcare information management problems are an order of magnitude more complex. Current and historical information associated with each patient must be ...
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