Large Vendors in a Niche Healthcare Market.

A number of the companies that grew rapidly during the dot com boom withered and died when the telecoms, media and technology bubble burst. Cisco and Oracle however, despite several rounds of cost cutting, remain key players in their respective markets. Nevertheless while cutting costs helps a company survive a market downturn it does not contribute to revenue growth. Even though the telecoms sector provided IT companies, such as Cisco, with impressive sales growth during the third quarter of 2003, this growth was from a low base. It will be some time before carriers and service providers order significant amounts of equipment.

Faced with sluggish growth in their traditional markets vendors turned their attention to fast growing niche markets. With governments spending heavily on healthcare in general, and healthcare related IT in particular, it was little surprise that one of these niche markets was ehealth. The vendor’s marketing and investor relations departments started drawing the sort of aspirational growth charts not seen since the dot com boom. This report examines the assumptions vendors made about the ehealth market. Given that some of these assumptions have since proved incorrect, this report discusses ways companies can reposition themselves in what, despite all the media attention it attracts, remains a niche market.

This report also describes a typical wireless based ehealth service – remote blood sugar level monitoring – and uses this scenario to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the strategies adopted by major vendors who are active in the ehealth market.

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