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Healthcare in Russia: IT-giants cahoot

Cisco, EMC, Intel and Agfa have formed an alliance in Russia, which is to facilitate to the development and implementation of modern IT in healthcare. They believe the given branch IT usage potential is high.

The companies Intel, Cisco, EMC and Agfa engaged in IT-solution distribution in medicine are forming an open alliance in Russia to support, develop and implement IT in healthcare. At present the alliance main participants consider cooperation and consultations with state and legislative institutions in relation to IT implementation in the given sphere, as well as the Russian IT-solution developers and producers back up, as the main task of the alliance.

The alliance participants point out to the fact that healthcare is behind other branches regarding informatization. According to Steve Chase, Intel president in Russia, the given fact is accounted for the absence of effective data and system integration tools, which results in expenses increase and decrease in the quality of healthcare services. Nevertheless, Mr. Chase notes “thanks to constant diagnostic tools upgrading, new devices development, biopharmaceutical discoveries and other factors, medical treatment has become more effective within last decade”.

Luke Brunet, EMC chief executive in Russia and CIS, outlines most of the problems from insufficient finance to qualified personnel shortage healthcare institutions are facing at present result in the service quality decrease. He believes IT might significantly help to cope with the mentioned problems.

Robert Agee, Cisco vice-president in CIS, considers cooperation with healthcare industry one of the most prosperous. Experts agree to him and point out to high efficiency and attractiveness of the given market in Russia. “The Russian IT market for healthcare has acquired certain attractiveness for large foreign companies out of modern medical equipment and information system developers and suppliers, - Sergey Shalmanov, CNews Analytics Analyst believes. – That is connected, first of all, with the fact that the aggregate government healthcare expenditure is significantly increased every year, domestic medical institutions being in the initial stage of informatization. Secondly, the Russian healthcare informatization market might be considered as a single customer market as most of medical institutions are under governmental control. Large-scale and ordinary IT-project implementation is easier in such a market”.

The given market attractiveness is evidently proved by healthcare expenditure dynamics in Russia, which grew from 469 bln. rubles ($18,5 bln.) to about 840-850 bln. rubles ($33,16 – 33,56 bln.) in 2004-2006. By 2007 year results the index is to come to about 1 trillion rubles ($39,5 bln., 19% growth), in particular, 16.7 bln. rubles ($659,332) is to be used to provide citizens with high-tech medical treatment. Besides, in 2007, although being several months late, a special medical treatment finance project has been launched in more than 10 Russian subjects.

Such famous foreign companies as Oracle, Philips, Microsoft are likely to participate in Russian healthcare informatization. In particular, Charles Philips, Oracle president stated during his visit to Moscow, ‘healthcare is a very important branch of industry and our global aim’.

Nevertheless, according to analysts, not all the medical institutions will be able to make use of informatization. “Regarding supply and demand in ordinary not special and high-tech medical treatment in Russia, for example, in feldsher-midwife stations, digital medicine in contemporary Russia is available, first of all, to soundly financed medical centers, some private hospitals and future high-tech medical centers”, - Sergey Shalmanov says.

At present there are more than 262 mln. aged people and 861 mln. subjected to chronic illness in the world. The given two categories, which consume about 80% of the national healthcare budgets world-wide, are especially in need of efficient medical treatment.

More than 200 mln. illnesses of the Russian population are registered annually, the main being respiratory illnesses amounting to 26%, then goes blood circulatory system illnesses – 11%, digestive apparatus – 8%, more than 1.1 mln. are the disabled. In 2007 life expectancy in Russia amounts to 65.5 years, 59 years for men and 72 years for women (100th position in the world).






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