July 2008

HL7 critical to tap global healthcare IT markets

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In a large and diverse country like India standardisation is not an idea too easily followed. However, some International standards developing organisations have been showing the Indian IT professionals the way to a unified language to share critical care data safely and securely.

Aggregated US provider and payer healthcare information technology spending was close to US$ 26 billion in 2004 and will grow to over US$ 34 billion by 2008, with a CAGR of 7%. By 2008 payer spending will amount to US$ 7.5 billion and provider spending will be at US$ 26.7 billion. (Forecast from Research & Reports)

To gear up for this emerging trend, CSC made a US$ 375 million acquisition of First Consulting Group along with increasing the offshore capabilities in India. CSC, IBM, Accenture, EDS and Perot systems with billion dollar deals, spread over several years, currently corner the healthcare provider market.

Indian IT firms have not been strong in the US provider market primarily due to the lack of availability of HL7 certified professionals in India. According to analysts, Syntel and TCS can capitalise on the growing healthcare provider market in US, primarily because of their extensive experience in HL7.

What is HL7?

Health Level Seven (HL7) is one of several American National Standards Institute (ANSI) – accredited Standards Developing Organisations (SDOs) operating in the healthcare arena. Most SDOs produce standards (sometimes called specifications or protocols) for a particular healthcare domain such as pharmacy, medical devices, imaging or insurance (claims processing) transactions. Health Level Seven's domain is clinical and administrative data.

Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Health Level Seven is like most of the other SDOs in that it is a not-for-profit volunteer organisation. Its members – providers, vendors, payers, consultants, government groups and others who have an interest in the development and advancement of clinical and administrative standards for healthcare

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