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Ricoh Europe: Technology is Healthcare's Biggest Driver of Change but Executives Fear Impact on R&D

European healthcare executives (51 per cent) predict that over the next three years technology platforms will have the biggest impact on their business models, however they are wary that in driving rapid change the biggest areas at risk are 1) technology itself and crucially 2) R&D. The majority (71 per cent) believe their organisations need to change faster over the next three years if they are to be ready for the future and 78 per cent are feeling the pressure to change. The findings come from a new study called The Challenge of Speed, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Ricoh. Healthcare respondents were from hospitals, medical device manufacturers and pharmaceuticals.

Carsten Bruhn, Executive Vice President, Ricoh Europe says, “Healthcare leaders know there is a lot to do and they need to change faster – the European Commission's eHealth Action Plan also covers many areas for change, from patient rights in cross-border healthcare to funding advanced R&D to ensuring that electronic health record systems are compatible internationally. But what do they start to change first, ensuring their R&D is protected?”

The study reveals that healthcare executives are fragmented. When asked where adapting to change was most crucial, they rated improving core business processes (34 per cent), recruiting new staff (34 per cent), attracting and retaining customers (34 per cent), optimising their supply chain (34 per cent) and adopting new technologies (32 per cent) with equal importance.

However, when specifically considering where they expect to see the most change in the next three years, the most cited response from healthcare executives was ‘improving their core business processes’. What’s more, almost half rate data analytics as the technology with the most potential to improve healthcare over the next three years, much higher than any other industry (42 per cent versus average 29 per cent for respondents from all sectors).

Bruhn says, “Improving healthcare’s core business processes is without doubt the key starting point. It is also certain that data analytics will play a key role in preventative healthcare measures and direct future R&D. Healthcare leaders also need to focus on the digital transformation of document-heavy patient record systems. By doing so, they will have quicker access to information when they need it, while protecting confidentiality needs and dedicating more time to patient care.”

In the race to modernise more traditional ways of working and to realise the vision of the eHealth Action Plan, healthcare leaders also emphasise two significant barriers that are preventing them from making it happen more quickly. The first is the lack of a clear business case and the second is due to time constraints on healthcare professionals. In addition to the barriers to speed, the survey reveals additional bottlenecks to increasing overall agility. The challenge of effectively linking technology platforms is ranked first and the presence of multiple and potentially conflicting initiatives is ranked in second place.

The healthcare industry is confronted with an overwhelming challenge when it comes to speeding up the progress of digital transformation. However, as this latest study shows, while technology platforms will have the biggest impact on business models, healthcare leaders are clear that’s not where the obstacles and bottlenecks lie.

Bruhn says, “The healthcare sector is not being held back due to a lack of investment in the right technology. Instead, as this study shows, it’s the processes behind the technology and the need for the right business case to optimise them. With the right support they can review existing processes and design an improvement plan. This will allow the IT systems already in place to be to integrated more effectively and time consuming administrative processes to be significantly reduced. Then with this renewed focus and the time saved, healthcare professionals will have more hours each day to focus on their R&D programmes and their absolute priority of delivering excellent healthcare services.”

For more insights into the challenge of speed facing healthcare organisations, visit to download the full article and infographic and watch the video.


| About Ricoh |

Ricoh is a global technology company specialising in office imaging equipment, production print solutions, document management systems and IT services. Headquartered in Tokyo, Ricoh Group operates in about 200 countries and regions. In the financial year ending March 2013, Ricoh Group had worldwide sales of 1,924 billion yen (approx. 20 billion USD).

The majority of the company's revenue comes from products, solutions and services that improve the interaction between people and information. Ricoh also produces award-winning digital cameras and specialised industrial products. It is known for the quality of its technology, the exceptional standard of its customer service and sustainability initiatives.

Under its corporate tagline, imagine. change., Ricoh helps companies transform the way they work and harness the collective imagination of their employees.

For further information, please visit

| About the Research |

The report is based on a survey of 461 senior, Europe-based executives from a wide variety of industries. Their companies include a range of sizes. The survey sample is senior, with 49 per cent C-level or above and a further 23 per cent SVPs, VPs, or directors. In addition, the EIU conducted in-depth interviews with corporate leaders and noted experts as well as substantial desk research.

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