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Can Wireless Technologies Rescue U.S. Hospitals?

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The number of U.S. hospitals has decreased by 20% in the last 30 years, from over 7,000 in 1975 to 5,747 in 2007. Meanwhile, staff shortages, shortfalls in Medicare reimbursements, non paying patients, increases in medical errors, and rising administrative and energy costs are squeezing hospitals. To counter these challenges, streamline processes and reduce costs, hospitals are increasingly turning to the use of wireless technologies.

According to a new report by Kalorama Information, the use of wireless technologies in healthcare continues to expand with hospitals leading the way. Wireless sales in healthcare reached $2.7 billion in 2007, growing at 22.9% annually since 2005. Kalorama expects continued strong growth with a CAGR of 29.5% resulting in sales of $9.6 billion by 2012.

The clinical environment is highly mobile -- medical personnel need fast information they can act on. A shortage of nurses and physicians creates pressure on hospitals to use staff more productively. Implementing WPAN-enabled PDA units, RFID wands, and other wireless technologies will help fewer nurses and doctors serve a growing number of patients in a more effective and efficient manner, while reducing errors and costs.

"It's no surprise that hospitals are earmarking large portions of current and future budgets to wireless development," notes Bruce Carlson, Publisher of Kalorama Information. "In 2003, 25% of US hospitals had wireless. That figure will be somewhere between 80% and 90% in 2010."

Approximately 72% of all healthcare organizations in the U.S. increased their IT budgets between 2006 and 2007, while 67% did so in 2005 and 60% in 2004.

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Tags: rfid  cagr