With increasing demand for advanced patient-monitoring procedures and electronic health records placing a strain on the nation's existing health care networks, hospitals, physicians, clinics and insurance providers will spend more than $69 billion nationwide on new telecommunications services over the next six years, according to a research analysis by Mountain Lakes-based Insight Research Corp.
According to Insight Research Director Fran Caulfield, the health care sector's projected telecom spending is "only a drop in the bucket" compared to the $3.9 trillion it's expected to spend across the board by 2017.
"Health care spending would rise even faster and treatments would not be as good without the systems we have today," Caulfield said. "Health care providers could do a lot more in diagnostics and treatment without waiting for their patients to come into the office. We're confident that technology can greatly help lower treatment costs, and telecom is one important piece of this."
According to Caulfield, over the past two years, telecommunication service providers like Verizon and AT&T have dedicated more staff and resources to servicing the health care sector, since the industry's expansion in locations and employment continues to outpace all others in the nation, and "spending in telecom runs higher than most other industries."
Caulfield said the industry's movement to interconnected broadband and mobile networks and electronic health records will drive more collaboration between doctors, clinicians, insurance providers and patients for remote treatment resources and disease prevention.
"The high costs inherent in current health care systems are related to the proximity of the patient and provider," the report said. "Technology will close these proximity gaps, providing patient access to providers and specialists who may be hundreds of miles away."