Let’s say you work at a hospital with thousands of medical devices. There are smart pumps, x-ray and EKG machines, ventilators, defibrillators, laboratory equipment, and more. How is your hospital possibly going to keep track of all of those devices?
These days, technology has made hospital inventory tracking a lot easier with IT solutions that are purposefully built for identifying and tracking devices.
Most people are familiar with home networks such as Alexa and Google that connect devices to the internet and allow users to access information from a single source. Hospitals are taking advantage of this technology as well, but the use cases are somewhat different and seem to be expanding. Though the healthcare IoT market is only a few years old, it is evolving fast, and the demand is growing. Healthcare IoT security is a high-energy market, and a lot of customers are making decisions about what products to buy.
In stride with that high energy, we wanted to share what decisions are being made in the market in our Healthcare IoT Security 2020 report. As we have examined current customer decisions, we’ve seen some surprisingly fast changes in the market as a whole.
Past to Present
Healthcare IoT vendors started by primarily advertising their system’s medical device inventory capabilities, such as discovery, monitoring, and asset management. As the market has evolved, security has become a core function of Healthcare IoT security solutions, as they can help protect devices from hackers and other risks. If a smart pump is breached while providing a patient with critical medication, for example, that may cause the patient harm. When used correctly, IoT security solutions in healthcare can have life-saving implications.
The entrepreneurial spirit and fast-moving pace of the healthcare IoT security market have catapulted the intended and potential uses of the software. This year, KLAS validated that nearly all new decisions now incorporate expectations to manage both medical and nonmedical devices. That includes portable devices owned by the hospital such as laptops and phones as well as necessary machines that are needed to keep facilities running, such as fridge monitors and HVAC systems. Not every IoT vendor in the healthcare industry offers tracking capabilities for nonmedical devices, but many existing vendors are quickly building that functionality to meet their customers’ needs.
Customers indicate that they chose one vendor’s product but that they could just as well have chosen another vendor’s product. The functionality is very similar amongst major vendors. With many great available choices, differences between vendors are often based on small nuances.
Most IoT vendors are young and entrepreneurial. They are similar to a young aspiring athlete who just made the varsity team for the first time; they are ready and excited to do whatever it takes to be the best. These vendors are eager to help their customers and to develop their products. The energy of these vendors means that many of them are running neck and neck.
Usually, it takes at least two or three years to see any drastic changes in market leadership, but that has already occurred in this market in a single year. It also usually takes some time to see any customers replace their vendors with others, but as you will see if you look at our report, there are already some validated replacements. That is likely because unlike many other healthcare IT systems, the lift to replace these products doesn’t seem to be as heavy.
Present to Future
IoT vendors really have to stay on top of their game to keep their customers for the long term and keep up with the competition. There are questions about where the market for IoT in healthcare will lead. Could these smaller vendors be swallowed up by larger security firms?
That question is not as compelling as the critical value that healthcare IoT solutions bring with their innovative asset management and security capabilities. Healthcare IoT security is evolving fast in both technology and in the market. That is a sign that an exciting future is ahead.
The next frontier for the market may just be about who can drive an ROI. Right now, especially in the midst of a COVID-19 economy, some potential customers are hesitant to adopt or keep an IoT solution. That is mainly because it is difficult for customers to see financial outcomes in addition to security and peace of mind. The first vendor to help their clients understand the financial benefits of the product may just become the next market leader.
This piece was written by Joe Van De Graaff, Vice President, Digital Health & Security, and Dan Czech, Director of Market Analysis, Cybersecurity, Patient Engagement, and Telehealth, at KLAS.