By Matthew Hein, International Trade Specialist in the Office of Health Information Technology at the International Trade Administration.
The Health Information Technology (Health IT) sector has become an important, dynamic sector reshaping the healthcare system in the United States. As other countries increase investments in their healthcare systems, they are interested in investing in digital products and services, driven by computers and mobile phones, rather than through paper-based systems. As a result, U.S. Health IT companies have become prime candidates to offer the technologies and services needed to meet the requirements of the 96 percent of patients based outside of the United States. The International Trade Administration (ITA) is committed to providing U.S. Health IT exporters the data-driven market intelligence they need to succeed globally – whether finding a company’s next export market or comparing opportunities for first-time exporters.
This is the first Top Markets Report on the Health IT sector, providing exporters with analysis of future export opportunities, and possible barriers companies may encounter overseas. The Health IT Top Markets Report, part of the larger Top Markets Series, includes a methodology used to rank 80 potential export markets, eight country case studies, and several charts and graphs which show the market potential for the sector. The Health IT Top Market Report is forward looking, using data and analytics to project the strongest markets for future export growth; designed to help exporters compare opportunities across borders, identify opportunities for market expansion and/or market entry; and help exporters prepare effective strategies for entering or expanding their presence in foreign markets.
So what does the future hold for the sector? With approximately $7 trillion in healthcare expenditures worldwide, the opportunities available for the Health IT sector are vast. However, since the rules and regulations governing the sector may not be keeping up with the innovations being developed, companies would greatly benefit from counseling and guidance from ITA when exploring opportunities overseas, both from the Top Market Report, but also through the ITA network of resources located worldwide.
Here are some important findings in the report:
- Japan, Switzerland, Netherlands rank 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the Export Market Rankings.
- Several smaller countries (such as Kenya, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore) profiled in the Report offer exciting export opportunities for Health IT companies. Health IT market access for exporters to Low- and Middle-Income Countries may be easier than that found in larger, more developed countries.
- A high rating of physician worker density/capita (as a proxy for healthcare workers) may result in a less intensive need for Health IT solutions in a country.
- Current data on mobile phone penetration rates offers an incomplete (and potentially inaccurate) picture of mobile health/telehealth potential in a country.
- A high prevalence of prepaid mobile phone plans in a country can be a significant encumbrance to widespread adoption of mobile health and telehealth solutions.
- A high level of healthcare expenditures (used as a proxy for Health IT expenditures) in a country did not necessarily result in a high ranking for a country using the Report’s methodology.
This post has only touched on some of the analysis you’ll find in the full report. I invite you to download the full report for our in-depth market analysis; and welcome feedback on our methodologies, viewpoints, and rankings.