The French Inter-Ministerial Centre for Forecasting and Anticipating Economic Change (Pôle interministériel de prospective et d’anticipation des mutations économiques – PIPAME) has carried out a study of the e-health market in France and worldwide, through consultants Care Insight and Opusline. The study ran from December 2014 to December 2015.
The main point of the study was to find out why the French system has not been able to exploit e-health in the same way as other countries such as the United Kingdom, Japan and South Korea.
Some key figures
The e-health market in France in 2014 was worth some €2.7 billion, which could represent between 28,000 and 38,000 jobs. Telemedicine could provide 10,000 new jobs, including 1000 from remote monitoring.
The market is currently dominated by information systems (hospital information systems, electronic archiving and healthcare professionals’ information systems), which between them accounted for some €2.36 billion in 2014, or 88% of the market.
Medium-sized healthcare companies represented 70% of net sales and 45% of the total number of companies in the market.
A market dominated by small companies
The various segments of the e-health market are dominated in number by small companies.
- French start-ups in telemedicine account for 40% of new measuring devices coming on the market, which puts France in a leading position in the segment,
- 200 companies, averaging 15 employees, have developed, marketed and provide support for a single software application. Only 25% of the companies market several software applications and have over 57 employees.
- 370 innovation-led SMEs in the healthcare sector are located in the Greater Paris area.
The French government provides backing for the French e-health industry through programs supporting industrial innovation, such as investments for the future of the digital economy, alongside other national initiatives such as French Tech and locally-based competitiveness clusters.
No country currently stands out for specific or novel initiatives in e-health. Each country enjoys specific features, advantages and disadvantages, but the key point seems to be how successfully a country manages to bring together the levers which best drive e-health development for patients and healthcare professionals.
These levers include the “public authorities strategy” levers (lever no.1), the “organisation and integration of health care services” (lever no.2), “remuneration and funding” (lever no.5), and “project funding” (lever no.6). Successful export countries, such as South Korea benefit from “export incentive policies” (lever no.7), backed by a policy of excellence in “research and innovation” (lever no. 9), which is a driver for success. E-health solutions need to aim at the high-end market to be successfully exported.
The study ranks the countries according to performance
France’s lowly position in the e-health rankings seem to result from the difficult roll-out of the DMP individual health records initiative and the lack of any real deployment of telemedicine, despite a number of actions. There does, however, appear to be a move towards relaxing the many rules obstructing the implementation of new solutions.
France is also threatened by a possible future lack of healthcare professionals. While the current situation is relatively stable, the imminent retirement of a large proportion of doctors (42% of doctors in France are aged 55 or more, against 23% in Spain and 13% in the United Kingdom) threatens to cause a shortage.
To sum up, while e-health brings universally recognised benefits, it is being held back by red tape and a lack of support to help drive its rollout.
To find out more about the study and to examine the resulting recommendations, you will find the full report here.