In 2020, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) commissioned consulting firm KPMG to carry out a market survey into information systems of hospitals and into digital data exchange in the health care sector. ACM has published the executive summary of this survey following a ruling of the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb), the highest administrative court in the Netherlands. This ruling was issued after a market participant had sought a preliminary injunction. ACM cannot publish the rest of the market survey yet pursuant to an assessment of interests carried out by the CBb. ACM is currently working on guidelines that clarify and explain competition rules for IT suppliers and other market participants in the health care sector. In that context, ACM will initiate talks with market participants.
KPMG’s market survey
At the request of ACM, KPMG has provided an overview of the market structure and practices of IT suppliers, hospitals, and other organizations that are active in the markets for information systems in the hospital sector. The researchers examined to what extent these systems are perceived as “open” and are able to communicate well with each other, among other aspects. In addition, the researchers describe the obstacles experienced by different market participants on these markets and with regard to digital data exchange. The market survey contains the results of desk research, the answers to questionnaires sent to hospitals, and information from interviews with suppliers of the health care information systems, other IT suppliers, and hospitals, among other market participants.
Several findings from the market survey:
- The market is highly concentrated: only a few providers of hospital information systems are active.
- Entering the Dutch market is difficult because of national legislation and regulations, local organization, and code systems. In addition, hospitals are reluctant to switch systems, in part because of the system's high level of integration with the hospital’s processes and because of the high costs (including implementation costs).
- The market participants involved experience different obstacles in connection with data exchange between information systems (from different providers), such as obstacles related to interoperability.
ACM and IT in the health care sector
Well-functioning IT markets in the health care sector are a necessary condition for a long-lasting health care information sector. Open information systems of hospitals and other health care providers offer many opportunities for high-quality and on-time data exchange and innovation. As a result thereof, health care providers and patients will have the right information in the right place, at the right time. That is necessary for making the quality, accessibility, and affordability of health care in the Netherlands ready for the future. The attention to IT in the health care sector is part of ACM’s key priority 'the Digital Economy’.
- 22-03-2022 Ruling of the provisional-relief judge of the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb) on publication of the market survey (In Dutch)
- 18-06-2021 Organization of the market for information systems and data exchange in the hospital sector (in Dutch)
- 20-12-2021 Hospital information systems / electronic medical records systems: Market problems and possible solutions – the state of play (in Dutch)
- Ruling of the CBb (in Dutch)